Mandy Mortimer reviews the very latest Kenwood kitchen product – kCook.
A new Kenwood product – their brand new kCook – has hit the stores this September.
A ‘one pot wonder’ the kCook chops, stirs, cooks and even steams. And the best part? Just about everything goes into the dishwasher for easy cleanup. That’s the sort of kitchen appliance we like! But at a price of €399, this isn’t just a cute kitchen gadget you might use a few times a year.
We decided to test the kCook by making a chunky minestrone soup. We weren’t quite sure where to begin as the instruction book looks a little intimidating, but after reading the various programmes as well as some of the recipes provided in a separate booklet, we figured out how to go about using the kCook with a programmed setting and with a few manual adjustments.
As it is equipped with a blade, we only roughly prepared the veggies and threw them in and then used the option to manually chop and process them. The blades were so sharp and the speed so fast, we ended up with a very fine vegetable slaw. Oops!
We thought we’d try again, but this time started with the harder veggies like the carrots, pulsed those a few times, then added in the softer veggies, and pulsed again. A slightly better result, but still a little too shredded so not as chunky as we’d like.
After that we replaced the blade with the stirring attachment, poured in the wet ingredients, secured the lid, and set the kCook to the soup programme, but added on an extra 10 minutes of time according to the recipe.
And that was that! We left it to do its thing while we carried on with other work. So far, so good!
We were in the kitchen the whole time and couldn’t help but notice the hum of the constant stirring. So if you have an open plan living area, you might not enjoy the continuous whirring if you’re relaxing in front of the TV while you wait for dinner to cook.
Once the time was up (and the soup was smelling pretty good!) we went to add in the rest of the ingredients, and this is when we realised the bowl wasn’t big enough for the recipe. We had to ladle out some of the soup before adding in the beans, cabbage and broken up spaghetti. Lid back on, 10 more minutes of cooking time, and the soup was done (We then poured the soup out into a larger pot and added back in the liquid we’d set aside). The end result? As good a minestrone soup as if we had made it on the stove top, except with less looking after!
We specifically decided to try a soup recipe that wasn’t as straight-forward as most because we wanted to see if the kCook would be able to manage this. Other than the initial discovery about the blade being a bit too effective and then later the size of the bowl which was a bit too small for the recipe, we thought it performed really well. The soup was bubbling at the end of the cooking and so reached a good temperature with no chance of the bottom burning because it was being gently stirred the whole time. You can pause the cooking at any time, take the lid off and add ingredients or check seasoning, and then resume easily after each interruption. And if you feel you need to add on cooking time, that’s easy to do as well. It also has a keep-warm function which is really handy after cooking is finished.
Looking through the recipe book, it’s clear that if you can make it in one pot, you can make it in the kCook e.g. chilli con carne, variety of casseroles and stews, risottos, soups and more. And with over two hundred free recipes on the kCook mobile app, you’ll always have something new to try.
Something to consider is that the kCook isn’t really suited for bulk cooking. The pot is only really large enough to make a one pot meal for a family of four. So if you’re hoping to stock up the freezer with soup, you would likely need to halve any soup recipe you have that makes a larger batch, which is what we ended up doing when making the minestrone soup.
The steaming function is a nice addition, but certainly not the kCook’s main function.
What we enjoyed about it was the (mostly) hands off cooking. The constant stirring is ideal for making a risotto (We love a good risotto, but this means standing over a pot constantly stirring for an hour!), and of course, brilliant for soups. If you like a chunky soup, you’re better off prepping the veggies yourself as the chopping attachment is almost too efficient! But of course, this is a bonus when making smooth soups and sauces as you can finely chop any vegetables before cooking, and then use the blade again at the end for an even smoother consistency.
Our final thoughts on Kenwood’s new kCook…
It is fairly large and bulky, so it would be better to find it a permanent home on your counter top rather than hauling it in and out of the cupboard if you’re going to use it regularly. And unless you enjoy soups and casseroles all year round, it may be something you only use in colder months. We’d also prefer if there was an option to buy a bigger bowl so that you could use it to do batch cooking.
The kCook is great for a busy household that wants to have wholesome home prepared meals regularly as there is very little hands-on time needed. Cleanup is easy too as you can pop most of the components, including the bowl, into the dishwasher.
The kCook would also be ideal for anyone with mobility issues because it aids in the preparation of ingredients, and again, it needs little attention while cooking. And because the programmes are all timed, you need have no worries about having to rush to a hot stove to keep food from burning.
As with any Kenwood product, it’s very well made so you’ll have it for years.