Several years ago, when I had renovations in my flat and I had no kitchen appliances, an old multi-cooker helped me out. At that moment it replaced a whole stove for me. But I have not used it since then. But then again, why would you need one when you have an oven and a cook top. But I have after all decided to give it a second chance in my house. Modern models for sure have something interesting to offer.

From the editor. Buying home appliances is a delicate issue. Even if you had enough money to buy all the existing assortment in a store, there would be a different problem: where to keep all this wealth and then what to do with it? It so often happens that toasters, food processors, blenders and coffee makers are actively used only for the first couple of months, and then are left forgotten in a closet. We decided to correct this misunderstanding and launched a series of articles “Testing appliances / utensils.” We are not going to tell you about the variety of devices (with the same good job and sales consultants), we will try and then explain how useful they are, how to apply them and which miracles they are capable of . You will have to decide for yourself if you could live without these wonders.

Several years ago, when I had renovations in my flat and I had no kitchen appliances, an old multi-cooker helped me out. At that moment it replaced a whole stove for me. But I have not used it since then. But then again, why would you need one when you have an oven and a cook top. But I have after all decided to give it a second chance in my house. Modern models for sure have something interesting to offer.

Appliance to be tested: multi-cooker Philips Avance Collection HD3095/03

It turns out that multi-cookers for Philips are designed by a housewife/engineer from Holland. According to her words, she tries inventing kitchen appliances that would cook tasty food and at the same time make household work easier, allowing more possibility to spend time with your husband and kids. Well, we will see how easier would my family life become thanks to the multi-cooker.

multi-cooker PhilipsPhilips Avance Collection HD3095/03 is complete with a bowl for cooking on steam, a ladle, a spatula, a measuring cup and a recipe book. The multi-cooker can cook porridge, stew, heat-up, roast, boil, steam, bake and can also be used as a yogurt maker.

It has 10 automatic programs (with pre-set temperature and cooking time) and a special “Personal choice” function. The good thing is that you can edit each automatic program. For example, if you love thoroughly cooked buckwheat or rice all you need to do is just increase the cooking time.

Using the “Personal choice” option you can input all parameters yourself: choose the cooking time from the range of 5 minutes to 10 hours and temperature from 40°C to 160 °C. Of cause, at once it would be difficult to use the “Personal choice” mode. This function is good for the experienced chefs and original recipes.

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While using the in-built programs and the recipe book is right what you need! By the way, this is not just a small leaflet, but a full-fledged cookbook. It has a collection of tens of recipes for breakfast, main courses and desserts.

Manufacturer describes the Philips Avance Collection multi-cooker as a premium-class appliance, one of the special features of which is a thick-walled bowl with ceramic coating. It should give the food an unforgettable taste as if they were made in a wood-stove.

apple pie in multi-cookerThe multi-cooker has a sensory control for buttons and screen. The least shows the chosen program and the remaining cooking time. The sensor buttons are easy to clean with a cloth, but sometimes they do not react from the first touch. I could not get at least the “Start” button to work in the beginning. Either my fingers are not suited for the sensor buttons or there’s another problem, but I had a hard time with them.

Experiment 1: A satisfying dinner for my husband Chicken in spicy-sweet sauce

Wings fried in a pan and served with a sauce are very popular in my family. They are simple to cook, but you have to stir them very often and that makes the hot oil drops splash all around. In general, this dish requires your constant presence in the kitchen. I found the recipe for chicken legs in sauce in the book, which came with the multi-cooker. Just replaced legs with wings. First I have marinated chicken in mustard, soy sauce, honey and lemon juice, then stewed it for 30 minutes and after that roasted for 10 minutes.

If compared with cooking on a pan, the multi-cooker saves your time and efforts, that’s true. I had to stir the wings less frequently and did not have to worry that they would stick. Chicken turned out very soft, but it did not fall apart. The only disadvantage of cooking wings in a multi-cooker is that you would still need to make a side dish for them unless they are intended to go with beer. And in this case you will anyway have to cook the side dish on a stove to serve them together.

chicken in philips

Experiment 2: A light supper for myself. Stewed courgettes

Courgettes are very healthy vegetables. In the market my hands go for courgettes on their own, but I don’t have enough fantasy to make something from them. In the cookbook I have found a very simple recipe for cooking courgettes just in 25 minutes. Switch the roasting program and put in all the ingredients one after the other. These are onions, tomatoes and of cause the courgettes. I have also added green asparagus, which have been laying around in my fridge for some time.

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I’ve cooked a very tasty vegetable stew. The recipe offered to add some sour cream. I did not use it, but everything turned out tasty none the less. Besides, you can always add the sour cream afterwards. Though I have used roasting program my vegetables turned out stewed. By the way, I have spent all 25 minutes of cooking beside the multi-cooker. I had no opportunity to do any other household tasks as I had to introduce vegetables one-by-one with 5-10 minutes interval: while one roasts, you are cutting the next one.vegetables in multi-cooker

Experiment 3: A tasty dinner for the whole family. Pea soup

I have never cooked soups in a multi-cooker. But the time has come…and I have strictly followed the recipe. First I have left the peas to soak while I ran to the shop to fetch some smoked ribs, cut onions, carrots and potatoes. The cooking time according to the book is 1 hr and 35 minutes. After the program was finished you need to add spices and wait another 30 minutes for the soup to soak them in.apples

I did everything as was said in a recipe, but my peas remained undercooked. Yes, I have used split peas and have presoaked them, but that did not help. I had to cook the soup for additional 30 minutes and increase the temperature from 90 to 100°. In the end I have spent more than 2,5 hours on cooking.

The soup was incredibly delicious. I am not sure whether this is thanks to the multi-cooker. It was always extremely good when I made it on a stove.

Experiment 4: A healthy dessert. Apples baked with honey and nuts

Baked apples are good for digestion. You can cook them in an oven or in a microwave. I was curious, what would it be like to cook them in a multi-cooker. Would they be even tastier? I used hard green apples. I have stuffed them with honey and nuts and pierced in several spots with a toothpick so that they would not burst.

But they blew up anyway and turned into a mash. Perhaps I should have used even harder and greener apples? I was very disappointed at first and thought that my dessert went totally wrong, but then I decided to lay the remaining parts on a plate and sprinkle with sugar powder. It turned out rather nice. And the apples tasted deliciously! Either the apples acquired smell of a wooden stove or were so thoroughly soaked with honey that I have eaten everything up without noticing it. Apples baked in a multi-cooker are incredibly good! You should definitely try them. This is one of the tastiest and less time consuming desserts!

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Experiment 5: Home-made yoghurt

To make yoghurt I needed 1 L of milk and two tablespoons of natural yoghurt from a local store. At first I wanted to add some berries into the multi-cooker, but the cookbook warned that milk would go sour in this case and I would get curdled milk instead of a yoghurt. So I followed the recipe. You need 8 hours to get yoghurt of medium thickness.

It goes without saying that it turned out very tasty. I have added raspberry grated with sugar and a bit of mint to the yoghurt. By the way, you can use your own home-made yoghurt to cook a new portion of it. You can do it up to 3 times. That said you practically need just milk to prepare a tasty dessert. But you should keep in mind that you need an ultra heat-treated milk. If you have just pasterized milk (you can always read it on the package) then you will have to first boil and cool it down.Home-made yoghurt

Conclusion. Of cause I could not exclaim something like “How could I live without a multi-cooker!?”, but if you wish to bring a bit more comfort and quite into your household life, then you should seriously think of buying one. As soon as you get used to cooking in it, you would no more have to clean your stove and tiles above it so often, because you would entrust most of your meals to it. You will also get more time to spend with your loved ones.

I would say a special word about the multi-cooker size. For me it seemed too big for a 4L bowl. I had a hard time finding a place for it in my small 7-meter kitchen. But if your kitchen is bigger the multi-cooker would look nice there with it’s “space” design.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the heat-up speed of the bowl. For example, if you put onions and carrots to roast in it, they are already nicely roasting in a couple of minutes. To my mind, the multi-cooker has a very useful function – blocking from children. Whichever buttons your child would press, the appliance would steadily ignore them. Another pleasant surprise is protection from the electricity outage. I did not pay any attention to it at first, but I have unintentionally unplugged the multi-cooker when I tried to move it during the testing. I was cooking my pea soup at that moment. I have plugged the multi-cooker back in and it happily continued doing it’s work. All setting were saved!

Philips Avance Collection multi-cooker is complete with a comfortable handle for carrying, so you can easily take the appliance with you to your summer house or a vacation cottage. This way your kitchen will always come with you wherever you have electricity.