I’m the first to admit that I don’t really like cooking. Yes I can make a mean risotto and I’m not that bad a baker but I can’t say I enjoy the process of creating something to eat. For me at least, cooking is a bit like building flatpack furniture; you’ve just got to get it done and then hopefully at the end of the ordeal whatever you’ve made should be edible/functional and you can get on with your day to day life once more.
I know that such a mindset will be horrifying to some of you; I promise I’m not a joyless dementor in all things creative. I love gardening and growing my own veg and in another life I’d probably be a florist but cooking is not where I find my peace. Eating and drinking however…well that’s another story.
So when I was offered the opportunity to trial Tefal’s Cuisine Companion I was intrigued. Was I even the right person to test out all of the various miracle features it claimed to possess? The team said yes so here I am sharing my thoughts on this food processor/sauce maker/bread kneader/steamer/mixer. The list goes on and on and on.
I suppose my initial response was scepticism; could one machine really do all those things let alone do them well? Only time would tell.
The Cuisine Companion comes with a book full of recipes for starters, main courses and puddings along with sauces and soups too. There’s absolutely no way you could be stuck for inspiration and I used this book as my guide for getting started.
I began simply with a French almond cake which involved using just the mixer tool – I suppose in much the same way that one would use a KitchenAid. Ten minutes later I was done, with minimal mess (way less than I usually would make!) and a cake baking away in the oven. The whole process was quiet and efficient and straightforward. So far so good. And I’m telling you now that the cake was flipping amazing…even better I’m told than my mum’s famed cherry and almond tart.
We progressed to dips (aubergine and later beetroot). I’m told both were fantastic and I have to agree that they were incredibly tasty. Both methods used a variety of steaming and slow cook functions with little interaction from me. Apart from any initial preparation I have to say that I was impressed by the lack of fuss and actually how accomplished I felt as a chef however artificial that may be.
Lastly I decided to knock up a root vegetable stew using the slow cook function only last week and it was a roaring success so much so that Hector ate his entire dinner of purely veg and went back for seconds which is pretty unheard of for him. Again I found the experience almost…dare I say it… pleasurable.
I haven’t used all the functions yet but I know I will. I’ve got my eye on a couple of bread recipes, a delicious gluten free orange bake and a courgette soup, and now that I feel comfortable using the gadget I feel more inclined to venture out of my comfort zone and cook things that I wouldn’t even have considered previously. In short Tefal’s Cuisine Companion is a lazy cook’s best friend.
Any downsides? Well I suppose initially I felt a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of programmes and specifically the manual that accompanied the miracle machine. Where did I even start? What if I pressed the wrong thing? My fears were ill-founded however and playing with the various buttons proved that operating the Cusine Companion was actually easier than it looked. I’m the type of girl that likes ‘following the manual’ but even Tefal’s guide was a bit off-putting; I can see that it’s necessary but perhaps it could be a touch more user friendly…
Secondly and this is a big thing for me; it’s not pretty. It doesn’t have the kitsch appeal of a KitchenAid mixer and it takes up a fairly sizeable chunk of the worktop. In short it’s clunky and that’s not including storage of all the additional bits and pieces that come with the machine. Perhaps I’m being utterly unfair…I mean if you think about it from a rational perspective try combining a slow-cooker, a steamer, a food processor, a kneader and a soup-maker into one single machine. Pretty tough eh? So actually Tefal have done pretty well to make it as small as they have done. It doesn’t solve my problem though of where to keep it when it isn’t in use.
I’d absolutely recommend the product to pretty much anyone that enjoys cooking or otherwise and has £700 to spend. That’s with a two year warranty too by the way. In terms of cost per use you’ll definitely be getting your monies worth…OH and if you want to see a picture of the French almond cake I mentioned earlier, you can spy it on my Instagram feed which you can see here.
Is the Cuisine Companion on any of your coveted lists? Are you the proud owner of one? What do you think of it? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below…
I was gifted the Tefal Cuisine Companion to trial, however all opinions are most definitely my own.