Being both working parents of two young children, one in school the other a nursery as well as having very little support network can have its struggles, mainly around drop off and pick up form their respectively places of education. Another factor though is by the time you have finished work, co-ordinated pick ups, its leaves very little time at home to cook tea, bath time, story time and finally bed without it getting too late. Fortunately we were given the chance to at least try and counter meal times with a review of the Tefal Cook4me.
The Tefal Cook4me is described as being an intelligent multi cooker which not only speeds up cooking times but also has a built in guide on how to cook some classic dishes in it so even the not so great cooker can still serve up tasty meals in a fraction of the time. It has the ability to complete five different types of cooking from pressure cooking to simmering, browning, steaming and reheating.
On first appearance I love the look of the Tefal Cook4me, its looks extremely modern, coming in a shiny gloss black colour with a colour digital screen on the front and an easy to open lid which is done so by simply turning the top to the lock or unlock icon accordingly. It also comes with a steamer attachment too so no having to buy those costly extras. It is a little on the big side though, mainly due to the fact it can easily cook meals for up to 6 people but it is a consideration as to whether you want to display it on your sideboard or you have adequate storage for when its not in use.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got the multi cooker initially but having looked through the manuals (one has 50 recipies in it, the other is the operating instructions, both with easy to understand wording and diagrams. we set off to work with it.
Choosing one of the 50 pre-set recipes was the first consideration, 30 of these are cooked in less than 15 minutes, whether is be a starter such as potato and leek soup, a main dish like chicken tikka masala or something tasty like some ribs, it can even cook desserts, this multi cooker and handle most things. I mentioned the size as an issue for storage earlier but we also took advantage of this too by choosing to cook a whole large chicken in it and selected the built in Pot Roast Cider Chicken dish. The 6 litre pot easily handled the dish and using the built in instructions, we were able to follow the recipe with ease.
The multi cooker literally takes you step by step through each step being it browning the chicken, something which on hind-sight we might do a little longer next… purely for aesthetics, through to removing the chicken, then browning the other ingredients, then adding it all back in, sealing the lid and allowing the pressure to build and cook the dish in half the amount of time it would have taken us using conventional methods.
Once actual cooking via pressure has completed the machine makes a noise to let you know its finished but will also continue to keep the dish warm but not overcook it so if you were upstairs bathing the children for example, you don’t have to worry about anything burning or boiling over. The fact it is all one dish, which is also dishwasher safe also means that cleaning up is a doddle too.
The dish itself was really succulent and tasty, even if the chicken did look a little “milk-bottle” esk from our schoolboy of not browning enough. I would make sure you have some cornflower in the house or thicken agent as the sauce does tend to be a little watery despite being very tasty but having this key ingredient does mean you can also have rich thick sauce each time.
Going back to the step by step process, mainly the browning stage, its important to note that you are in complete control of this, telling the machine once you have finished this stages you can brown in stages if you are cooking for a big family or take the prep stage at your own pace. A word of warning though is that other the machine on the outside is safe to touch, be careful when taking foods out of the pot when browning as it is VERY hot (he says with a slight burn due to his own incompetence). After every stage, it also asks if you are ready to commence the next stage so again, you don’t feel like you are on ready, steady, cook and against the clock.
We have also cooked the meatballs in tomato sauce and again the dish was fantastic, this time browning was completed with ease and the meatballs had cook through perfectly and really did melt in your mouth, the whole family enjoying this one which if cooked in the week would involve one of us standing in front of the hob and “managing” it wasting valuable family evening time. Again, no mess, no splats against the back of the hob etc.
The digital display is really easy to use and understand too with a simple rotating button which is also perusable being the main control as well as the helpful on screen display always keeping you in the loop as the process, to length of time to go or which ingredient to add and when.
Having cooked two of the built in recipes and feeling more understanding of the whole pressure cooking side of the intelligent cooker, we set upon cooking our favourite curried parsnip soup in the Cook4Me using its “manual cooking” process. We successfully browned our ingredients and then proceeded to add in the parsnips, stock and other ingredients and set the pressure multicooker in action for just over 12 minutes. When completed we opened up to find perfectly soft parsnips and following a quick blitz added some cream and served up… our first manual and successful cooking process.
Successfully Browned This Time
I definitely think the Tefal Cook4Me has a place in our kitchen especially as it allows us to cook those meals which either normally take a lot of managing or that take a long time to cook as with the multi cooker both of these are overcome as well as being succulent and well cooked. I’m not sure I’d cook any typically short time dishes in it as the time saved would be negotiable though. I would also add the ability to self stir (similar to the actifry as well as the ability to download and add in other recipes via usb stick or something to ensure its future proof but on the whole was lightly impressed. If its anything like our Tefal Actifry or Tefal Ingenio saucepans, this thing will last a lifetime and help to educate the younger ones on how to cook as they get older too.
We still haven’t attempted to make any desserts or things like steaming vegetables and cooking rice in the cook4me so I’ll be interested to see how these go too and will keep you updated via my twitter or instagram feeds.
Until next time