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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?

Babieseverywhere Sun 30-Sep-12 12:16:02

We are going to be trying the risotto again the Butternut one, as it is lovely smile

I have also tried doing scrambled eggs in the cooker which worked and left the same amount of egg covering the bottom as using my normal pan, so no extra work IYSWIM.

I also cooked mushroom in olive oil and garlic. Cut up really chunky, by hand. Served on a piece of wholemeal toast for breakfast. It cooked whilst I ran around getting children dressed smile Feel bad about not using the tower for the mushroom, but not worth using and cleaning for such a small amount of chopping.

EddieVeddersfoxymop Sun 30-Sep-12 16:45:57

We tried the pan breakfast today......hmmm. Not sure about this one. The mushrooms and tomatoes were marvellous.......until we added the eggs. We had turned the temp down to 175 as the recipes suggestion of 250 just seemed too high. Should add here that I am vegetarian so DH and DD cooked their bacon etc in a separate pan.

When we added the eggs, it wasn't hot enough to flash the whites off right away, so the uncooked egg ran all over the pan and we ended up with the toms and mushrooms embedded in the egg white confused. To be fair, that is my mistake in turning the heat down.......

I cranked it back up to 250 when I realised what was happening, but we then ended up with a hugely burnt black pan again........poor DH had to scrape away at it for ages, which I wouldn't manage terribly well due to problems with my hands.

I think if I were to do this recipe again I might actually follow it and use 250 as my temperature but shorten the cooking times. Might stop me serving up glorified omelette......grin

Does everyone else's homecooker make a whirring, whining noise when it's running? I don't recall hearing it when I first used the machine, but it's definitely there now. Sounds a little like a fan running??

ChristmasKate Sun 30-Sep-12 17:11:50

Eddie mine makes a low whirring cooking noise and always has.

I'm making the minestrone soup again for today's lunch, tower worked well and was a defiante time saver.

Also doing onion soup and the breakfast one this week as well as chicken casserole so it's a busy week for Jamie in this house!

EddieVeddersfoxymop Sun 30-Sep-12 17:19:52

Thanks for that....was getting worried I had broken Jamie!!

libelulle Sun 30-Sep-12 20:08:33

a thumbs up for the granola too. Modified the recipe quite a bit in terms of ingredients, but for once the times/temps in the book seemed to work pretty well! Also tried a couple more stews with great success. It is rapidly earning itself permanent counter space.

The cutting tower, on the other hand, is still in my bad books. It just doesn't do the job it is meant to do, which makes me a bit cross really - why release a product which blatantly doesn't do the job it is supposed to do?!

Halfling Sun 30-Sep-12 22:48:40

HOME COOKER FEEDBACK
Will post reviews of the Cutting Tower in the next couple of days

~ Please share your first impressions overall of the HomeCooker? Was it what you expected?

The first impressions of the home cooker are very favourable. The packaging is appealing. The cooker looks sturdy and well made. The controls are easy and intutive.

How did you find making the risotto recipe? Did it save you time in the kitchen?

The broad beans and asparagus risotto recipe was easy enough. What I found difficult was to trust the cooker enough to step away and not fiddle with the process. Maybe it was because I was using the cooker for the first time. On the whole, I think it saves substantial time spent standing at the cooker.

~ What about the size? How does it compare to other appliances you may have?

I have a very tiny kitchen counter and own a rather large number of appliances. I will have to use the cooker extensively before it can prove worthy of a permanent counter space.

In my opinion the size of the cooker is just appropriate and it compares favourably to other appliances, given the multi tasking it is capable of. It also stacks up neatly.

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

The intructions were easy. And the range of recipes in the booklet is quite interesting.

~ And what was the first thing you tried in it? How did it go? Anything you'd change for next time?

The broad beans and asparagus risotto recipe is the first I tried, and it turned out to be truly delicious and of restaurant quality. I am most impressed. The best part was not having to bother about temperature control, stirring and the rice sticking to the pan base.

The recipe worked perfectly for me so I will not change anything in it.

Other comments

What I am struggling at the moment is how to incorporate the cooker more into my everyday cooking. Maybe once I have tried enough recipes from the booklet, I will be able to figure out the cooking times and temperatures for the food I cook on an everyday basis.

I will be back with more feed back once I have tried more recipes.

Halfling Mon 01-Oct-12 16:29:34

Used the Home Cooker to make Anjum Anand's recipe for Chickpea Curry for lunch today. Turned out really well. I think the home cooker is really suited for making curries.

It was really easy to make the basic onion-tomatoes curry base as the cooker heated and stirred at a uniform temperature which gave a lovely creamy consistency.

ClaireDeTamble Mon 01-Oct-12 22:53:34

Finally got round to using the home cooker for the first time this weekend, so here are my initial thoughts:

Please share your first impressions overall of the HomeCooker? Was it what you expected?

The homecooker appears to be very well made and looks quite good in the kitchen. The controls are easy and intuitive (although I did have a bit of a duh! moment when I couldn't work out why it wasn't stirring before I realised I needed to press 'play' or set the timer!). The cutting tower I am less impressed with - I understand it has been designed to feed straight into the cooker, but it is bulky and oversized for what it is.

How did you find making the risotto recipe? Did it save you time in the kitchen?

As others have said, there was so much faffing around with the squash and pancetta that it didn't save huge amounts of time, but there was about 20 minutes where I didn't have to do anything other than let it cook which gave me time to tidy the kitchen up and sort out a load of washing.

I also had issues with the cutting tower not cutting the onion and celery properly.

What about the size? How does it compare to other appliances you may have?

It's a little on the large size - taller than my slow cooker but about the same width.

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

The instructions are easy enough to understand. I'd like to see some more simple recipes that haven't been quite so Jamie-fied (I love his food but his recipes can be somewhat over involved when you just want to cook a quick, simple tea.) - some basics like mac cheese, spag bol etc would be good.

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 the risotto. It was fine - a bit stodgy, so I might add a touch more stock or turn the temperature down a bit. We've also made the breakfast which was lovely, although again, the temperature probably needs to be reduced after the eggs have been added.

Any other comments?

Like the poster above, I am struggling to work out how I am going to incorporate the cooker into everyday use. While I can see it could be very useful for some, I am not sure yet it is useful for the sort of food that we cook on a daily basis.

I am sure however, that it would save me more time if I didn't stand and watch it stirring grin

It's a great little gadget and I am hoping it will become a useful one in our kitchen rather than one that ends up in the back of the cupboard, although I am reserving judgement until I have tried a few more recipes.

civilfawlty Tue 02-Oct-12 11:45:10

Actually, having entered, I was starting to dread the arrival of the cooker - my husband was very grumpy about another piece of kit in the kitchen. And the box was enormous! But actually, it isn't vast, so that it can sit on the counter in the week, and in a cupboard at the weekend (more on this later). It is a robust piece of kit, and the brushed steel is attractive.

I entered because I absolutely love cooking but, since having my ds (8mo) I have really struggled to make home cooked supper for him and my dd (9) because supper prep time really does coincide with the witching hour in our house.

The first thing I cooked was a simple chicken and pea risotto (I didnt receive my ingredients, so I just picked something the kids love). I just adapted the recipe in the book, following the timings and so forth. In reverse order, the risotto was absolutely delicious, and both children guzzled it up. It was really great to produce something and have been able to roll around on the floor with the baby and supervise homework.

I used the cutting tower, as instructed, and I suppose this was the piece of kit which felt unneccessary in that particular context - the washing up versus time saved chopping ratio felt wrong. But - I am pretty quick at prep and I guess if someone found this harder it might have been more useful. Also, risotto for four doesn't involve much chopping. But I can imagine using it far more when catering for greater numbers.

I decided to ignore the technical instructions and see what happened... it was pretty intuitive and made good sense.

It does take up some space on the side, but I really have found it earns its place on the counter: I've made two casseroles, a pasta sauce, and a soup so far. At the weekend, when I have more time, I just popped it away. I don't have any other appliances, but I know plenty of people who have a kitchen aid or kenwood on the side, but use them very rarely, which makes me think there could be a space for this in other homes.

I really love it - I feel like I'm feeding my family nutritious food again, which is an enormous relief to me.

ChristmasKate Thu 04-Oct-12 11:40:21

I'm experimenting, feel free to tell me I'm Barmy.

I have 2 packs of frozen lamb mince that I have chucked in Jamie with a little oil on 90, no stirrer of course.

I'm going to see if it defrosts quicker than leaving on the side open all day or even worse defrosted in the microwave.

I'm full of night nurse so probably not the best judge of judgement today But I will let you know either way.

libelulle Sat 06-Oct-12 12:09:32

How did you get on Kate?

ChristmasKate Sat 06-Oct-12 13:47:06

Sorry, completely forgot to update!

It worked well and tasted really nice although as lamb mince is very fatty I did have to drain and then skim lots of fat off.

I left it on 70 for the afternoon and even remembered to video using the tower - who do we send the videos to?

Using the smaller blade on the tower was a bit of a disaster because everything gets clogged up although I did manage to get courgette and mushrooms in there which is something most of the family refuse to eat but they went undetected!

The lamb mince defrosted easily in Jamie and as it was cooked low and long it was soft and a lot tastier than beef.

ChristmasKate Thu 11-Oct-12 21:16:24

It's all gone a bit quiet on the Jamie front, are we due any challenges or emails that I have missed?

Vies till not received the risotto shopping voucher, has my pre christams nam change caused a confusion?

Jamie is still working hard here and producing some lovely soups etc....

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 11-Oct-12 23:23:22

It has all gone quiet, hasn't it? In the application thread, didn't it say that we had to post pics? I've been photographing my food, but it's making me feel like an eejit!

So - I AM liking my Jamie, very much so, for lunchtime soups on days I'm at home. Brown some onions then bung in the rest of the ingreds and stock and cook for a bit (scientific). Perfect as I get fresh, wholesome food with the min of intervention.

I'm also loving it for curries, stews etc, in the evening. It just means that I can wander about and do a few things at once rather than be chained to the stove, stirring. Or more likely, it means that I don't forget to do so and come back to find I should have stirred earlier and now my food is all burnt/stuck.

I've also tried the granola, which was ok but not wow. But very, very easy. Plus the red pepper/chilli chutney - but like the B/nut risotto, any recipe that requires 40 mins in the oven before being Jamie-d rather seems to defeat the object. I freestyled a tomato and chilli chutney, which was nice.

I've not yet tried steaming or pasta yet - has anyone else? Must do so, I think...

Still not impressed by the slicer. Thick slicing onions is ok, anything else is pretty poor, IMHO.

civilfawlty Fri 12-Oct-12 09:28:46

I never received my voucher or food either. Wondered if something had happened...?

I made a veeeery nice Ragu yesterday. My Dd said it was because I was Jamie-ing it. It was MY cooking, dammit!

Green curry later...

cather Fri 12-Oct-12 12:47:03

I've made lots of soup and it's great for curries as I can just leave it to cook.

ChristmasKate Sat 13-Oct-12 10:46:44

Wow my spelling is diabolical in my last post, it really is true that posting on an iPhone is trickier than on an iPad blush

I did call and speak to Mary but haven't heard anything after that....

Reggiee Sat 13-Oct-12 20:06:43

Three weeks in and I'm still using the HomeCooker quite a bit. Favourites in the Reggiee house are the potatoes (been doing these at least three times a week, but without the rosemary and cook slightly less time than the recipe); risotto (very easy and tasty); and bolognaise which is definitely tastier (and easier) than my usual pan fried one.

Still haven't tried cooking pasta or steaming. Have done the granola once which was fab. Didn't last long though as both dh and I kept picking at it thoughout the day rather than leaving it for breakfast.

Would love to hear your curry/thai recipes if anyone has the time to bung one on the thread (don't need to put weights - just ideas would be fab thanks).

I've added a few pictures (I think). The first time I used it to make risotto (lid on, but since have made it without the lid); the granola cooling; and two picturs of the cutting tower. Still not happy with the cutting tower. I generally wouldn't have the energy to bother cutting things up so fine by hand, so if I needed to hide veggies it might be useful. Being blessed with kids who love their veggies I don't need to do this. Another picture shows the amount of pepper still left in the cutting tower at the end. Washing this up is a pain (and I broke my nail getting the blade off).

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 15-Oct-12 17:03:53

hi - we'll be adding some more feedback this week I think.
Do email me any pictures you've taken...would love to see them (they may be used on philips pages/ facebook etc)

ChristmasKate Tue 16-Oct-12 19:39:13

I'm sorry to report that Jamie isn't working in this house. sad

We cooked the crispy cauli recipe last night and have gone to use it again tonight and it has stopped stirring, dinner is caked to the bottom of the pan because I switched it on and walked away.

We have unplugged it now to let it cool down and try again although it had only been on for 15 minutes and I even had the instructions out to check I hadn't forgotten how to use it since last night!

libelulle Tue 16-Oct-12 21:25:32

oh no XmasKate, how gutting!

I have to admit that though mine is working fine, and it looks solidly built, I do have my worries about its longevity - partly because if you use it regularly, over a year, say, the motor will spend many 100s of hours working continuously, unlike say a food processor. That's quite a tall order, mechanically speaking! Time will tell I guess.

As for the cutting tower, the less said the better!

ChristmasKate Tue 16-Oct-12 21:37:23

I thought the same lib but as it is so costly I assumed it was built for using 4 times a week, can't think when it was delivered... Maybe a month ago?

I'm getting on well with the cutting tower and the cauli recipe requires the pasta tray so I've been using the attachments but I've tried it again just now and it really isn't working, just making a whirring noise that was spoken about up thread.

I'm gutted, I have more photos of me and Jamie than I do of my own children sad

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Oct-12 10:36:41

ChristmasKate - drop me an email and I will get the team to look into this for you.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Oct-12 10:37:40

OK here are the second lot of questions from Philips

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?

We'd love to see some photos - please do email me with them

thanks

MadameOvary Wed 17-Oct-12 17:00:07

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
I use it about three times a week

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
Risotto, soups and porridge

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
The timer and stirring action. This is the feature that really does feel like an extra pair of hands

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
Yes, but only once I got to grips with the controls and if I use dishes which dont require extra preparation of ingredients such as pre-roasting. Once you know which is the correct temperature for frying, sauteeing etc, you just set the timer and leave it. And it gently reminds you when time is up by beeping until you return to it!

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
Yes I absolutely would. But not the chopping tower which I feel is flimsy and poorly designed.

EddieVeddersfoxymop Thu 18-Oct-12 10:53:24

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
Once, maybe twice a week or so.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
We have done the risotto, and my own variations of it a couple of times. The rosemary potatoes have become a firm favourite and also the pan breakfast. To be honest though, I feel stuck in a rut with it. I'm vegetarian, and most of the recipes are for the carnivores!! I'm struggling to know what to cook in it now, and all the recipes that could be adapted for veggies are so involved that the effort required means I can't be bothered some of the time blush. I would really like to see a book of simpler, one pot and vegetarian meals.

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
I like the timer/stirring part....means I can crack on with the dishes, or DDs homework while it cooks away. Once I'd used it a couple of times and "trusted" it, I felt able to walk away and leave it.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
On the fence about this one. It saved our <veggie> bacon the other day when the element in our oven went kaaaablammo - meant we could still cook a nice meal without resorting to the microwave <bleurgh>. The recipes are so fiddly that there is no time saving really - and as I mentioned earlier I now feel stuck as to what I can cook in it. Could the website/facebook page perhaps do a new recipe a week or something <and make some veggie please>?

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
Yes....but only rich friends as right now I feel like its an expensive risotto cooker! The cooker would be fantastic with simpler, one pot recipes - and that would make me more likely to recommend it as a time saver rather than a swish gadget. Not impressed with the chopping tower though, would probably tell folk not to bother with that as its easier to just do it by hand.

libelulle Thu 18-Oct-12 12:43:02

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
I probably use it three or four times a week. The cutting tower I have stopped using altogether, it is not fit for purpose imo.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
I've done various stews and soups, the jamie risotto recipe and the granola, and recently have taken to braising veggies in it with oil and garlic, which works fantastically.

Still haven't mastered the rosemary potatoes though - would appreciate more advice from those who've made them a staple! I think Phillips has badly miscalculated with the recipe book. There are some nice recipes in there (not surprising since I think they are just adaptations of recipes in other Jamie cookery books) but they are both extremely fiddly and badly tested - the temperature settings are way out. There was so much scope for a great recipe book specifically optimised for the homecooker - this one really wasn't it.

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?

I really like the stirring attachment and also the fact you can set the temperature - great for stews and low-temperature poaching, and it also goes high enough to fry stuff at high temperature.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?

It set in motion my confidence in getting a proper meal prepared for my children in time for 6pm, that we can all eat together as a family. I use it regularly and I love the fact you can leave it more or less to its own devices. I often use it just an additional cooker ring that I don't need to stir, viz the braised veg bit above. One minor annoyance is that it does steam up my kitchen cupboards since it's not under the extractor fan!

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?

I certainly use it a lot, and it is an excellent kitchen gadget. But I'm not sure it quite justifies the enormous price tag; neither is it going to be the magic answer to all your kitchen woes. For me to recommend a 250 quid item to a friend, it would have to be properly life-changing, and this doesn't quite qualify. Having said that, you'd have to wrestle me to the kitchen floor and conk me on the head before I'd part with it, so maybe that's the alternative answer to the question!

Babieseverywhere Thu 18-Oct-12 13:30:49

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
2/3 times a week.
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What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
Rissotto, Spag Bol, Crispy Potatoes, breakfasts, garlic mushrooms, stir fry, pasta, steamed veg, onion soup. Loads of things. smile
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What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
The timer and stirring arm which helps prevent food burning. Still wish the timer had the option of being used for several hours, as I could use slow cooker recipes in it. That said I wonder if the stirring arm could cope with that much use ?
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Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
When I am on my own with all four children and need to cook tea, the homecooker allows me to pop out of the kitchen to go nip to the bathroom or start supervising homework, without panicking about leaving something on the hob.
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Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
Yes, as the main pot for light frying and sauce based meals.

I wouldn't recommend the pasta/rice bit or steamer, far too much hassle than using my existing pan/steamer.

Neither would I recommend the cutting tower, much easier to cut by hand than use the tower and wash out all the bits.
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mummypigof3 Mon 22-Oct-12 19:44:51

how often- I have used this? up 3 times a week.
I have made stew, ragu, roast potatoes
most benefit- has to be the timer and stirer so you can walk away and do other things in the kitchen without worrying.
I think it could make my life easier if I used it a bit more and started increasing my repertoire for one pot dishes. I have already made batches if the ragu and freezed it off.
I would recommend it to a friend but I would say that you can manage without the chopping tower.

sarahbanshee Mon 22-Oct-12 22:16:02

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
- 2-3 times a week

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
- risotto, rice pudding, chicken curry, dhal, soup, chilli. Have also used it as a steamer for vegetables. Still haven't cooked pasta in it!

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
- I like the stirring attachment which really does enable you to walk away and do other things. It has made risotto a more frequent weeknight supper in our house. I have completely abandoned the cutting tower as I got utterly fed up with it, it really doesn't work that well.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
- Yes. It has added another option for making dinner; it makes one pot meals easier, particularly things like risotto where it does need attention and stirring; and it saves energy I reckon in comparison to having the gas hob on.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
- Tentatively, and probably not at the current retail price. A friend asked me if it was better than a slow cooker and I said that I didn't think I could justify both but that I wasn't sure which was better. I do wish the Jamie had a longer timer so it could operate like a slow cooker, or that there was some way to set a delay timer so that I could use it while I am out (about to go back to work after mat leave and this is v much on my mind!) I do think it is good and if I could master the steamer and pasta cooker I would be pleased with those options as well, but I am not sure it justifies the price. I would certainly not recommend the cutting tower which would be money down the drain, I would tell people to get a proper food processor or else not to bother.

SpatchcockedShitzu Tue 23-Oct-12 00:39:13

(Hazel, under a cake-inspired NC)

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
- 3-4 times a week. It's averaging out at 2x lunches, and 2x dinners.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
- Lunches - A LOT of soup. I love soup, and it's really soup weather now. Also: stews, the potatoes, dahl, curries, 'bolognese-esque' sauce. Risotto. Braised red cabbage. PLus I've experimented with chutnies, granola etc.

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
- Def the stirrer. This is the key point of difference for me, and is really why I use it - to make dishes that need a bit of attention without being chained to the cooker, stirring.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
- It has. It has meant that I can a) easily make fresh, healthy soups when I'm working from home, without stopping working. Or I can cook when I'm buzzing about, without really staying in the kitchen, watching the pots intently. So, it's freed me up, basically.
It has made me try to think up more recipes, dishes that can be cooked easily in it. Has anyone else looked at the Philips HC website? THey've added in a few more recipes now, not Jamie ones but some from what looks like a corporate cook, and others from randoms.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
- I'd recommend the HC: it's a good tool if you're quite busy, or lazy in the kitchen. I'm quite often both. It's not revolutionary, but it's jolly useful. I'd recommend it for its stirring function, not really for the pasta basket (I used it but found it no easier than cooking it on the stove).
I'd really not recommend the cutting tower. You can buy MUCH better food processors for <£100. In fact if I were Philips I'd withdraw the tower and improve it.

Sunshinenow Tue 23-Oct-12 07:22:36

Hello Philips.

Hope you don't mind me adding my comments. I am not a tester, but a potential purchaser. I have followed this thread and checked out some online reviews.

What would persuade me to buy this product. Well I am very interested but the stirrer would not be enough on its own.

What would make me buy it today would be a 'delay start' feature. As simple as your existing buttons - an option to delay the start of cooking by upto 12 hours (so a button keep depressed for increments of minutes and pulse for increments of hours).

Then I could set food up for when i have time, eg night before for porridge, morning for stew and it be ready for when I get in from work.

If it had this feature I would buy today. I have a timer on my induction hob and oven so would need something else to justify another gadget. A delay would definitely do it.

Your hopefully smile

amistillsexy Tue 23-Oct-12 20:52:58

We use a timer plug for our coffee machine, sunshine. The sort you'd use to turn lights on and off when you're on holiday. Would that work for the Jamie?

sarahbanshee Tue 23-Oct-12 23:42:25

No, a timer plug doesn't seem to work as you have to turn the Jamie on by pressing the 'play' button once it is switched on at the wall - don't think you can avoid doing this manually.

cather Wed 24-Oct-12 22:39:08

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
I have been using it about twice a week.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
A lot of soups and curries

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
The stirring action is great as I can just leave it stirring itself and it definitely saves me time.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
Whist the chopping tower could be improved I have found my self using it quite a bit as it is great for chopping veg for soups and coleslaw. As long as you hold a pan underneath the spout it works but it does have a tendency to chop carrots sideways, this doesn't matter for soup though. It is more compact than my food processor and I can leave it on the worksurface which means I use it more. The chopping tower has made soup making so easy as I don't have to spend ages chopping the veg by hand.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
I would recommend it as it is a great machine and saves me a lot of time

Fiveisenough Thu 25-Oct-12 23:29:12

Sorry for the delay in answering the next round of questions.

How often have you used your Home Cooker?
I have used on average 2-3 times a week.

What have you cooked in your home cooker?
Stews, Soup, Steamed fish and veg, fudge and risotto

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
The huge range of temperatures you can cook at make it very versatile and I like the stirrer, the timer is good but a little limiting due to the maximum time constrictions.

Would you say the HomeCooker has mad your life easier? If so how?
Yes, but not in the way I had hoped it would. It is great for stews, the breakfast was good. I would have liked more quick and easy 'one pot' recipes as I am not the most imaginative of cooks. And I think that whilst the book which comes with it is lovely its not very family friendly food
As a working parent I was hoping for more quick and easy thinks to cook which were a book with ideas like that to come with it it would be more appealing. This has meant that the majority of meals have been coked more at the weekend when I have had more time.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
Its expensive so needs to be a considered purchase. If there were better recipe ides with it then I would, but. I have to consider how I would feel if it were my money I had spent on it and I think I would be a little disappointed had I paid for this.
The biggest changes I would be would be to make the main pan either non stick or from an anodised material as when getting used to the temperature settings I had to spend a few goes scrubbing here things had burnt on the bottom. I also wish it were possible to set the timer for longer so the unit could double as an excellent slow cooker which it is as it can be used at very low temperature but you do have to keep re-starting the unit after its maximum time.

All in all my recommendation probably depends on the kind of cooking you like to do.

I shall email my photos in as soon as I can. Do I just email them to Ann?

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Oct-12 11:38:38

hi - pls do fiveisenough!

Also - please do add a review here if you're yet to do so thanks

Fiveisenough Fri 26-Oct-12 16:01:27

That's my next job!!!

urbanturban Fri 02-Nov-12 13:48:36

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
At least 3 times a week - a couple of the recipes have become family favourites now (Hungarian Goulash, Butternut Squash Risotto and the French Onion soup). We have yet to expand into recipes beyond those in the accompanying book but I'm sure it wont't be too long before we do!

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
As above, plus the minestrone soup, and the cauliflower cheese..........it's a pleasure to use and SO easy to clean!

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
DEFINITELY the 'self stir' and timer options. Had DC3 (a boy) on 24 September, and with two DDs aged 4.8 and 2.5, these options have been a lifesaver. It's so easy to eat quick meals with a newborn, but these can sometimes be the easy option but unhealthy, but we've found that the HomeCooker has indeed meant we could put something on to cook, forget about it (and then play with the kids/feed them/bath them/referee arguments grin) and then have a healthy snack/meal waiting for us.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
As above - quick, easy, HEALTHY and TASTY meals but with minimal effort from us - with 3DC under 5 this has been fantastic !!!

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
Definitely - of course it's quite pricey but I believe it's well worth the investment........as with my last lot of feedback however, I WOULDN'T be recommending the cutting tower.

Halfling Sun 04-Nov-12 19:35:29

How often have you used your HomeCooker?

I use it 2-3 times a week on an average. I would like to use it more often but when I am in a rush, it doesn't occur to me to use it.

I think that a wider range of everyday recipes, a chart giving indicative temperatures & cooking time for different meats, vegetables etc. in the booklet would have helped to incorporate the HomeCooker more in everyday cooking. More vegetarian recipes would have helped also.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?

I have cooked risotto, curries, steamed dumpling, steamed vegetables, rosemary potatoes, pasta, sauces and ratatouille.

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?

The stirrer attachment is fantastic and helps in making a great curry sauces, risottos etc.

I am not so impressed by the steamer attachment.

I am ashamed to admit that I haven't used the cutting tower yet. But I will soon and post the review asap.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?

It helps me making restuarant quality food with minimum effort. It is especially useful when I am making multiple dishes for a dinner party as the homecooker doesn't demand much attention.

It is very easy to clean as well.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?

It is a great kitchen gadget but I think that it is quite expensive. If it was around £150, I think I would have no hesitation in recommending, as I am very happy with the overall product.

Reggiee Tue 06-Nov-12 21:59:13

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
About four times a week.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
Popular dishes include the potatoes, risotto, casseroles and ragu. Have done a few dishes where I have cooked the meat then added veggies and stock/sauce and leaving it.
(To the person who hadn't quite got the potatoes right, I would recommend adding lots of oil and cooking time slightly less than the book gives)

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
Definitely its usp - the stirer. Great to leave the dish stirring itself for longer periods of time and not worry about burning the meal.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
It certainly is easier to set a dish going, then head off for a while leaving it to cook. Certainly couldn't do that with a pan on the hob! Would love to purchase an additional 'pan' so I can throw the dirty one in the dishwasher and have a spare to use the next mealtime rather than have to wash up. Would also love to see more parent friendly receipes. Jamie's cookbook had some wonderful recipes in, but they weren't straightforward and didn't particularly save time. Haven't yet used the steamer or rice cooker.
I have made dishes in the pot for the kids to have after school, then turn it onto a lower heat for dh and I to finish off once the kids have gone to bed later in the day. This saves cooking two different meals.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
Yes, particularly if they were the sort who experimented with food/cooking. I would miss it if I didn't have it! Defintely no to the chopping tower though. I have still not got my head around that.

civilfawlty Mon 19-Nov-12 10:38:17

How often have you used your HomeCooker?
I use it three to four times a week. I would use it more, but I bulk cook and use each dish twice.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?
Soups, pasta sauces, risotto, casseroles.

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?
The stirring mechanism, and the LOUD timer.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?
The stirring mechanism is genuinely a work of genius. I have a very active baby, and without this, creating anything which involves stirring/ attention is just a nightmare. I love being able to set the timer and not worry about the food burning.

It's worth noting that I haven't used the steamer at all, and the cutting tower just isn't up to scratch. I have just been grating and chopping by hand. It's a shame to have such a robust piece of kit undermined by such a weak element.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?
I would in theory. It is hugely useful. But I'm not at all sure I would have chosen to spend a lot of money on it. It really is a seriously luxurious item.

ClaireDeTamble Mon 19-Nov-12 20:44:06

Apologies for the late post - things have been rather hectic in the DeTamble household recently....

How often have you used your HomeCooker?

Not very often I'm afraid - maybe once or twice a week and not every week - it just doesn't seem to fit our style of cooking - which is quick and simple.

What have you cooked in your HomeCooker?

We've done the Risotto, the breakfast, a spag bol, a couple of soups and some pasta sauces. I want to try the porridge and someone up the thread said they'd done fudge, so I wouldn't mind giving that a go and I haven't had chance to try the steamer yet.

As others have also said, I would prefer to see some onepot, chuck it all in and let it go recipes.

What element of the HomeCooker would you say offers the most benefit?

The stirrier.

Would you say the HomeCooker made your life easier? If so, how?

Not really - perhaps it is because I haven't got used to it to the point I can just chuck the stuff in it - I keep having to check the recipe - unlike others I also don't like being tied to the timer and everything seems to take so much longer to cook - the spag bol came in at over two hours with a lot of too-ing and fro-ing for the timer - I can knock a spag bol up in 20 minutes on the hob.

Our cooking tends to be a lot more spontaneous, whereas if I want to use the homecooker, I have to make sure that I have planned it in advance and leave enough time for prep and cooking - I can't throw something together in 20 minutes using it.

Would you recommend the HomeCooker to a friend?

I would, if I knew they did the kind of cooking and had the kind of lifestyle it would suit. However, I agree with others who have said that it is very much a luxury product.

Ann - I did take some pics on my phone, but it has decided to have a hissy fit and deleted them and is refusing to take any more - if I can get it to work I'll try and send them to you.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Nov-12 15:47:49

The team at Philips HomeCooker say "We'd like to thank you for all your invaluable feedback on the HomeCooker and Cutting Tower. We thought you might like to know that there are lots more recipes for the HomeCooker at All Recipes. allrecipes.co.uk/recipes/searchresults.aspx?text=homecooker

We're hope you continue to enjoy using 'Jamie' in your homes. Thanks again".

Thanks to all from MNHQ too!

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