Wednesday 19 January 2011

Ovens Part 2

Yesterday we visited Ken and Walt, taking with us a large steak and kidney pudding, something they had never eaten before.

While we were there we discussed ovens/cookers and what to look for. We also picked their brains as to the location of the oven shops in St Aignan, so we could go and look at the ovens we have to choose between. Although we have previously seen the Smeg and Sauter cookers (as discussed here), we hadn't seen the Hotpoint Ariston, which was now within our price range due to the soldes.

As we left Ken and Walt, Susan and I discussed if we would cross the river to visit the kitchen shop on the other side. Susan was disinclined to, wanting just to visit the kitchen shop we would be passing on the way home, but as I had the cars keys (and probably more importantly, control of the steering wheel) we did cross the river and locate the kitchen shop.

This photo has nothing to do with this blog post:
Roofs in Chisseaux, one of which needs work.

Imagine our surprise when we walked into the shop only to see the exact cooker we were wanting to look at. This is a truly amazing thing, and may be a sign, although we will be buying the cooker online at a saving of almost 45% on the price displayed in the shop.

We also discussed Kitchenaid mixers, as Ken and Walt have one, and everyone who has ever used them raves about them. We would rather like one of these; Susan because they are stylish, solid and really useful, and me because Susan can make cakes and biscuits with them. In France these are incredibly expensive (almost as much as the cooker) and in the UK they are just plain old ordinary expensive. In the USA they are just about affordable but then you have shipping costs (you can buy 220-240v Kitchenaid stuff direct from the US). We will probably order one from John Lewis in the UK and either pick it up, or have someone bring it over on their next trip, thus saving us a couple of hundred euros (which staggers me - we are talking about saving that much on an item I would have been tempted to buy someone else's version of for 30 euros).

Either I am maturing, or I am losing my marbles. Answers on a postcard, please.



Katarina said...

I like the KitchenAid design too, but I prefer to use the much more practical Moulinex. In fact, you can find the Moulinex mixer with blender and mixer for around 100 eur (it's plastic and not metal like KitchenAid, but for home use it's sufficient and you have plenty of accessories, like the mini-blender for nuts).
My sister (living in US) is looking for a combo of mixer/blender there, but it simply does not exists in US.

Susan said...

Katarina: Do Moulinex do a stand mixer? I couldn't find one with a quick internet search. One of the reasons I am keen on the KitchenAid is the mincer (grinder) attachment. Moulinex do a stand alone mincer which looks good.

Katarina said...

I have Moulinex Ovatio Duo, where you can buy a meat grinder as accessory. Now, looking at website of moulinex, I don't think they produce it anymore, they have only this one: (this one seems to be wihtout the small blender for herbs and nuts)
But I mince the meat with 'couteau métal' and I'm happy with it.

Tim said...

Personally, I don't think you are mad, loosing your marbles, a plank short of a full fence! A Kitchenaid machine is meant to last!
If it cost £240 and lasts for twenty years, that's only £12 a year / a quid a month.... yes, it's expensive to begin with... but I've still got, and regularly use my Braun 'robot' from 1981... it cost about £90. So far that's 25p a month well spent!!
Get the Kitchenaid!

Thirsty Kirstie said...

Kitchen Aids are the bees knees in our kitchen, at home and at work. They also come in great colours now to compliment any kitchen.

Jean said...

I agree with Tim, the more you spend, the better value it is !!

Seriously, my ancient Braun food processor is still going perfectly after 20 years, despite me having dropped the bowl a few times and snapped some of the locating pegs off. I would be lost without it and new ones cost a fortune but I wouldn't hesitate to buy another when mine eventually dies.

We would be glad to bring a food mixer over from the UK for you but our next trip is not until Easter. Can Susan wait THIRTEEN WEEKS for it ??!!

Susan said...

Katarina: you have to be so careful not to turn meat into a paste if you use a food processor and they don't aerate cake mixes well. Great for making pastry and puréeing stuff.

Tim: yes, the sort of thing people like my mother got as a wedding present and which lasted all through my childhood and beyond. In those days it was the Mixmaster everyone wanted.

Kirstie: Good to have a professional opinion, thanks.

Jean: Don't worry - I'll be very surprised if the new kitchen is operational in 13 weeks, and I don't have room in the temporary kitchen.

The Beaver said...

I still have my Braun food processor which was a wedding gift ( now I used it to mince meat) but, some years ago, we decided to buy one of the Kitchenaid mixers ( Navy blue) It is so practical -we even use it to make mashed potatoes

Jean said...

Susan, thinking about it some more, for our little maison in Le Grand-Pressigny, because our budget didn't run to a more expensive machine, I bought from either Intermarche or SuperU a small hand-held mixer which works very well as a whisk for making cakes etc and also has a stick blender attachment. I doubt it would last very long with heavy use but for us it's fine. It was only about 20euros I think - I promise not to tell Simon !!

GaynorB said...

Is a Kitchenaid the same as a Kenwood? Our Kenwood had loads of attachments and lasted for about 25years.
We are coming out in February but Jean has already offered and it doesn't seem that you have the place for it yet. However just ask if you can't wait!!

Anonymous said...

the best thing about the kitchenaid is the dough hook, which kneads things way longer than i want to, such as this:

Multigrain BreadMakes two 9 by 5-inch loaves. Published March 1, 2006.

Don't confuse 7-grain hot cereal mix with boxed, cold breakfast cereals that may also be labeled "7-grain." Our favorite brands of 7-grain mix are Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills. Leftover bread can be wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 3 days; wrap with an additional layer of aluminum foil and the bread can be frozen for up to one month.

6 1/4 ounces 7-grain hot cereal mix , 1 1/4 cups, (see note above)
20 ounces boiling water (2 1/2 cups)
15 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (3 cups), plus extra for dusting work surface
7 1/2 ounces whole wheat flour (1 1/2 cups)
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon table salt
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, (unsalted)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

1.1. Place cereal mix in bowl of standing mixer and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour. Whisk flours in medium bowl.

2.2. Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, melted butter, and yeast and stir to combine. Attach bowl to standing mixer fitted with dough hook. With mixer running on low speed, add flours, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until dough forms ball, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes; cover bowl with plastic and let dough rest 20 minutes. Add salt and knead on medium-low speed until dough clears sides of bowl, 3 to 4 minutes (if it does not clear sides, add 2 to 3 tablespoons additional all-purpose flour and continue mixing); continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes. Add seeds and knead for another 15 seconds. Transfer dough to floured work surface and knead by hand until seeds are dispersed evenly and dough forms smooth, taut ball. Place dough into greased container with 4-quart capacity; cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

3.3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and pat into 12 by 9-inch rectangle; cut dough in half crosswise with knife or bench scraper. Follow illustrations 1 through 3 below to shape loaves and coat with oats; cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. (Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle.) Bake until internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and cool on wire rack before slicing, about 3 hours.

Getting the Loaf into Shape

1. With short side facing you, starting at farthest end, roll dough piece into log. Keep roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go.

2. To seal loaf, pinch seam gently with thumb and forefinger. Spray loaves lightly with water or nonstick cooking spray.

3. Roll each dough log in oats to coat evenly. Place loaf seam-side down in greased loaf pan, pressing gently into corners.

the kitchenaid also has a bumpin' sausage/meat grinder attachment which is going to be my next acquistion.

Unknown said...

Not what you're afer of course, but I bought my Braun food processor for $12.99 at our local Sally Ann thrift shop. It was new and sparkling and sits in pride of place on the kitchen counter. Use it often.
I do love a bargain.
(Perhaps it was an unwanted wedding gift ?)

Ken Broadhurst said...

Walt and I bought our Braun food processor in 1987 in California, and it is still going strong. And I agree with PJ about the Kitchenaid and it dough hook. Plus the meat grinder attachment. And I love having a stick blender too, for pureeing vegetables into potage, etc.

Tim said...

Odd when you think about it.... not very commercial of Braun to make items that last so long!

Carolyn said...

Susan, have you been able to put a Kitchenaid through its paces? Maybe you can borrow one for a week and see if the cost is worth it to you. I say this because I had always wanted a Kitchenaid till my mother got one. She was disappointed. I have used hers only to mash potatoes and make icing with the balloon whisk, and I agree with her that it's not ideal.

Just a word of caution from a cheapskate. If you love it, of course go ahead.

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

One very big plus about the Kitchenaid is the shape of the bowl that comes with it. As Julia Child points out, the sloped sides are infinitely better than the squared-off sides of the flat-bottom bowls that almost all other stand mixers come with. She said that those drive her crazy, because you simply can't get to all of the ingredients while you're beating.

Susan said...

Thanks all. We are currently leaning towards the Kenwood KMix, which has a bigger motor and similar accessories and is 200 euros cheaper. The two faults it seems to have is that it moves a bit on the bench top if you are kneading a large batch of dough and it is noiser. The KitchenAid apparently has no faults at all, but for 200 euros I can probably live with 10 minutes of noise and the occasional judder.

(To answer your question, Gaynor, Kenwoods are not the same as KitchenAids. Kenwood Chefs are what superceded the Electrolux Mixmaster in the 80-90s as the must have kitchen appliance. They have now been eclipsed by KitchenAids in the popular imagination.)

Susan said...

PS Jean: I did briefly think about getting hand held electric beaters, but for me there isn't much advantage with them over hand beating with a balloon whisk. I have certainly become a fan of the whizzy wand thingies in the last couple of years. We currently have a super cheap one from Tesco, and I plan on upgrading to a good one with a detachable head for the new kitchen.

Post a Comment