Panasonic Combination Microwave NN-CF771 Review
Just before Christmas, we had another Intelligent Living Mums get together at Panasonic where we had much insight into cooking with their combination microwaves. We cooked a whole manner of things including a roast chicken, bolognese sauce for pasta and chocolate brownies.
The results were impressive, juicy roast chicken, soft flavoursome mince and evenly baked moist brownies. I had no idea you could cook so many things in a combi and achieve such great results. Myself and my Intelligent Living Mum chums were each sent home with a Panasonic Combi NN-CF771 to play with.
For those not familiar, a 'combi' or combination microwave, it is basically a microwave, oven and grill (some combis don't have a grill though) in one. You can use each function separately, or in combination. Combination cooking means you get the quick results of microwave cooking combined with the crispiness and browning you get using an oven. Sounds good in theory, but does it actually work?
Yeahy it's here!
After nearly four months of use, I feel I can give a well researched and honest review of the combi. Overall, I love it, and it definitely gets more use than my oven these days. This is most definitely a good thing because it's more energy efficient, so cheaper to run.
Another thing I love about my Panasonic combi is the lack of turntable. This means you can use large rectangle plates and dishes without worrying about them having to turn around while cooking.
The one thing I will say is that you have to learn to use the combi. It's not just a case of bunging it in and turning it on, there's different programs and settings and also different dishes and trays you can and can't use with each. It does take time to learn, and you will have to read the manual often at first, but it is worth it.
Joshua and I Christen the combi with Cranberry, Apple and Chestnut Stuffing
As we had the combi just before Christmas, the first thing we cooked in it is was Cranberry, Apple and Chestnut Stuffing. It cooked beautifully in half the time it would have taken in the oven. Next, we baked Almond Topped Filo Mince Pies which were so delicious we ate them for most of Christmas.
A whole new love for jacket spuds thanks to the combi
After Christmas, and feeling skint, we found a new found love for jacket potatoes, thanks to the combi. It has is a special automatic button for potatoes which does all the work for you. Simply wash and prick your spud, enter their weight and press start. Jacket potatoes come out a treat in the combi, they take around 20 minutes, but taste like they've been in the oven for hours. Potato wedges and roast potatoes also cook brilliantly in the combi.
Fish and Chips cooked in the combi. Fish cooks a treat in there.
I used the grill function to cook chunky and chipolata sausages. It's much safer than using the grill in my range cooker with the door open, which is head level with my busy 2 year old. The door stays closed in the combi which is safer and also reduces the cooking smells. There's no chance of burning the bangers as you set the time and it beeps when it's done. Sausages cook beautifully and evenly in the combi.
There's also a clever automatic button for pizzas which cooks by sensor. There's a wire shelf which you pop your pizza onto while cooking to make it crispy. I've tried fresh and frozen pizza as well as flatbreads which cook evenly in around 10 minutes.
Brownies in a combi? In a metal tin? Yes it's true!
Using the combination setting I can bake an apple crumble in 20 minutes. Berry Crumble takes just 12 minutes. Brownies are delicious made in the combi, Emma from Mummy Mummy Mum has a brilliant brownie recipe on her blog. I've also made a very successful chocolate tart baked in a pastry case. I never thought baking in a combi would produce as good results as an oven.
Berry Crumble cooks in minutes in the combi.
Finally, I've also used it for a whole manner of other things including fish fingers, stews with dumplings, vegetables and roast chicken. I've had cracking results and no catastrophes, so far.
I'd defintely reccomend this combi to anyone thinking of getting one, just make sure you take the time to read the handbook. Also you need to invest in a digital scales as you will need to weigh food to get the best results. Don't ever trust the weight printed on the packet.
Disclosure – I am part of the Panasonic Intelligent Living Mums blogger group. I attended expenses paid workshops at Panasonic and received a combination oven to test out.