When it comes to watches I have two wildly diverging tastes: abstract/ modern or classic vintage. My all time favourite is a Storm limited edition so cool that you can’t tell the time on it but it looks fantastic. Sometimes though, pragmatism wins out and I need something that actually functions as a timepiece.
This is one of the nicer watches I’ve seen in the last few years and is both light and small enough to fit my admittedly smallish wrists comfortably.
The steel links are strong enough keep the watch on your arm and have an attractive gunmetal finish.
It’s been on my wrist for a week now and the 30 or so winds suggested by the manual have proved sufficient to keep it ticking for that time. As someone who prefers not to have a phone in my hand to check the time I have found the date function very useful, more so than the second hand.
All in all this is a very smart watch, quite my taste. That price point is about right – I’d snap it up if it goes much lower especially as it’s limited edition.
I would describe my culinary career level as “experienced dabbler.” It’s something I do a couple of times a week including one decent meal. The other time is usually some sort of sweet snack. I am a better cook than I am a washer up though so will this dedicated machine be worth its space in the kitchen?
It comes with both an instruction manual and a recipe booklet. Now, this is clearly being marketed with an eye on the healthy food market. But apart from the sample recipes swapping out fatty ingredients for low calorie counterparts there is nothing here which will improve your health as you can choose to either alter your own existing recipes or simply not eat the snack in the first place. But that would be a shame as at least by cooking your own you can be a little more certain of what’s inside.
It’s a small machine with a budget feel to it. It’s very light but feels more accessible than an oven as it’s there on your work surface. As most of the heat is being transmitted by contact with the food it is both more economical and easier to spy on midway through the baking process. For my test recipe I choose to use the optional grid which provides 8 deep squares into which to insert your mixture. The green handles are light but stood up to the heat put out by the cooker.
A note on the rear of the machine: the power lead is nicely corded and protected from heat but the hinge coverings and the stand do seem a little flimsy. I had no problems with either of these during my test but thinking of long-term usage I would imagine these are the areas that may fail first with repeated use.
I decided to forego the recipes provided and modified my own take on almond and coconut cookies seen here. For the purposes of a test bake I had to make them thicker and larger than normally. I usually make them small and round giving them a crunchy shell and smooth, marzipan like centre. I found that my 370 grams of mixture just about filled the cooker exactly. I coated the mix in desiccated coconut instead of flaked almonds as I though they would toast better and as it turns out I was right. I also used plain flour and no baking powder so as not to have the mix oozing from the machine. With hindsight, I would add some next time but leave space for them to rise.
Being the first time I’d used this, I checked on the cookies regularly and this had the effect of drawing out the cooking time what with me opening the lid several times but as mentioned the machine was able to get back up to the desired heat much quicker than a conventional oven. In total I guess I cooked them for 18 minutes. I think 12 minutes would have been fine.
As you can see, the coconut did indeed get well toasted (perhaps a little too much, especially on the underside). My lacklustre baking skills aside, I was quite happy that it had been a success. Next time I will try some brownies with a reduce cooking time.
One last note on greasing the plates: I didn’t have any vegetable spray to hand but a little extra virgin olive oil smeared lightly over surfaces worked very well without affecting the sweet taste of the cookies.
Clean up was very easy. Of course the mixing bowl still needed washing but the whole thing felt a little easier than using the oven.
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