A love affair

I am in love. Every day, I think about the next time I am with them, and the great things we can achieve together.

I am completely in love with my electric steamer!

I had a stove top steamer, which was a present from my grandmother many years ago. I used to live with them (around the time I met my husband) and loved using it. So when we moved into our own home, they gave us a stove top steamer for ourselves. It has had almost daily usage, especially once the kids came along and were starting their solids.

At Christmas last year, my mother-in-law gave us an option for a present, and electric steamer or a soda stream. We had recently sold our soda stream in a garage sale after it had sat, unused, in our cupboard since, well…probably before we even started dating!

So the logical choice, an electric steamer, please!

On Christmas Day, 2010, I had forgotten all about what were about to receive. I was pleasantly surprised once the paper had been ripped off, then the “oh, yeah….” sunk in. I had to giggle at myself for my momentary memory lapse (as no doubt some of you are now)

A couple of days past Christmas, I decided to pull it out of its box. I found a three-tiered machine, which took a little bit to figure out how to put it together. I have to admit, I’m not great with manuals, but I was pretty disappointed with the instructions. It didn’t really show how to put it together, nor did it mention any sort of cooking times. So the first time I used it, it was a guessing game.

My first cooking attempt was the humble potatoes and two veg. That was the “courting” period.

I noticed how much better the electric steamer was over the old stove top one was. The veggies were firmer, juicier, and the potatoes didn’t go all sludgy up against the sides (making it hard to pour out once cooked) like they do in the stove top counterpart.

I tried steaming rice. After ten minutes, I realised that it needed water added to the rice container as well. I had no idea! Like I had already mentioned, there weren’t many instructions in the manual. But it came out much better than expected. There was no need to rinse the starch out after. It was nice and softer than any boiled rice I have had. Although, the rice is almost too soft to be used in a stir-fry once cooked. It can turn into one big gloop if your not careful.

After a few days of sitting a top of my kitchen bench, I grew a little bored, and wanted to experiment a little. See what the new things in my life was up for.

After a bit of searching on Google, I found you could do cupcakes…..CUPCAKES!!!

My oven cooks horrible cakes, black on the outside, but sludge on the inside, no matter what temperature I cook at. I have since mastered a way that cooks mediocre cakes, that involved a low temperature, and having the oven door open for period to let heat escape.

I had read on this one particular website, that once you have a steamed cake, you never go back. Once I saw that, I HAD to try it! I’m no Betty Crocker or Julia Childs. So the trustworthy packet cake mix made its regular appearance (actually, on this occasion, I think I did use a Betty Crocker cake mix!!)

I did one tester cupcake. I placed the mix in a paper patty and set the timer for ten minutes (since I had no idea how long to cook for!) After five minutes, I came back to a flat patty pan and cake mix all over the tray, and dripping down on to the next tray underneath. So I decided to use some of my small plastic containers to help mould the paper.

Within ten minutes (and most of my plastic cupboard ransacked!) I had just over a dozen cupcakes cooling. They cool so much faster than an oven baked cake. You could have cakes cooked, and iced, ready to eat, within about twenty minutes!! That is just pure evil!

The first bite…OH MY GOD…that first bite! It was heaven! I hadn’t had a homemade cupcake like that in years. The website was right. Once you have a steamed cake, you never go back! They are fluffier than any baked cake I have ever had. If you watch them, it is easy to get that gooey top (if you’re in to that sort of thing)

I very quickly bought some silicone cupcake moulds in my next shopping trip, as they don’t flatten in the steam. They are one of the most used kitchen trinkets in this house now! My plastics can stay hidden away in my cupboard now, aswell, instead of spread out over my kitchen benches, trying to find that container that is just the right size.

By now, I was well and truly in love with the new household contraption. All I could think about was, “What can I do next?” So good ol’ Google offered its knowledge once more.

My next attempt, eggs! Instead of boiling them, I stuck them upright in the holes of the trays and steamed them for fifteen minutes. It worked beautifully! They peel easier, you don’t get little bits of egg coming away with the shell, and that little coating just on the inside of the shell, (you know, that annoying white film you try to rub off and up taking egg with it?) you don’t get that with a steamed one!! You also don’t get that rubbery texture that comes with a boiled egg. I even had family comment how the texture was better.

I have yet to try anything else. I know you can steam fish, even chicken. But I admit, I’m a little nervous! I want to try it though! But if there are any readers out there who can recommend a trick or recipe…PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!

So, to sum up, I am recommending that each and every one of you to go out and buy yourselves an electric steamer, even if it’s a cheap one. You will NOT be disappointed! If you already have one, dust it off and experiment. If you are like me, and absolutely adore it, shout it to the world and let me know what you use it for.

Cook, bake, steam!!!

Bella 🙂

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