Described as a cooking food processor and with a large capacity of 4.5 litres in its stainless steel bowl, the Cuisine Companion is ideal for family cooking for up to 6 people. It comes with a selection of attachments, including:
- whisk for emulsifying and beating
- ultra blade knife for mincing and chopping
- mixer for gentle stirring and mixing
- kneading and grinding blade
- steam basket
I must admit the machine itself does look a little intimidating at first and having spent most of January with two or more of us ill at any one time, we took a while to tackle it. But I kind of wish we’d just jumped straight in as the instructions are so easy to follow and the six automatic programmes are an easy way to start and to get to grips with the machine. The automatic programmes are designed to cook sauces, slow cook, make soup, steam, prepare pastry and make desserts. In fact, it’s so easy even a two year old can use it – with supervision of course.
We have spent the past month experimenting with our fabulous new gadget and trying out some ideas from the included recipe book which offers 1 million menus, literally. We have used it most days for different things, whether chopping, slow cooking, whisking or kneading, and found it incredibly useful and easy to use. The only disadvantage we have found is that as there is only one bowl included (you can buy them separately), a quick wash up is often necessary between processes. We will just have to invest in an extra bowl or two!
The Tefal Cuisine Companion offers temperatures adjustable in increments of 5⁰ for all types of cooking, twelve speeds from delicate mixing to high speed blending, with extra pulse and turbo functions, and a cooking time of up to 2 hours. It has a clear touch pad digital display and the six automatic programmes mentioned above to help you get started and make every day recipes, all clearly laid out in the instructions manual and accompanying recipe book. There is also a manual mode to help in preparing your own recipes, which is so easy to get used to.
Using the recipes in the Cuisine Companion cookbook is so easy, with full directions on how to use the machine at each stage, although we did spot a couple of typos in the recipes we've used. To give you an idea of just what it can do, we tried out a number of different recipes specifically for this review, all of them testing different features of the Cuisine Companion:
Apart from mincing and pureeing the onion for the sauce, the essential task of the Cuisine Companion was to slow cook the ratatouille. We followed the instructions in the recipe to the letter and ended up with a delicious ratatouille that we served as a pasta sauce for the girls and then whizzed the remainder down into a thick soup to freeze. My only criticism would be that the vegetables were slightly overcooked for my taste, which wouldn't have happened on the stove as I would have been keeping an eye on it. However, the convenience of using the machine meant I could play a board game with the girls whilst it cooked, rather than staying within sight of the stove. To save that 'quality time' I would still use the Cuisine Companion, just reduce the cooking time slightly.
Apologies for the slightly dodgy photo, but this delicious mushroom risotto was wolfed down before I'd had a chance to check my photos were OK! And I guess that says it all really. We've featured a few risotto recipes over the years and they seem to have a big fear factor for people, so the ability to make it all in one bowl which does the stirring and heating for you sounds the perfect solution. Again my only criticism would be that it was slightly over-done for my taste, a quick tweak to the timings next time and it will be perfect though, and the girls loved it anyway!
The bloke is a huge hummus fan, and happily whipped up a BIG batch in the Tefal Cuisine Companion. Easy to make, great tasting and the texture he likes, i.e. not totally pureed. Happy, happy man! Well done CC.
French Almond Cake
We haven't tackled bread in the Cuisine Companion yet, but if it's cake mixing abilities are anything to go by, we are happy. Tatiana loved helping me make this traditional flat, flour-free almond cake. Making it was so easy, you just pour the ingredients into the bowl as instructed, whizzing away in between. Tatia could almost make this herself, happily pouring the ingredients in and pressing the buttons; although I think she enjoyed eating the end results more!!
So, our conclusion? Yes, it is a lot of money, although £200 less than it's only close competitor the Thermomix, but if you are replacing so many other gadgets or wanting to streamline your kitchen, I think it is definitely worth it. Definitely one for the wedding gift list, and perfect for downsizers as it doesn't take up a great deal of counter space. It truly is like having an extra pair of hands in the kitchen, sat happily over in the corner whipping up a risotto while I attend to something else. Now all we have to do is train it to clear out all our old gadgets, and wash up...
All recipes can be found in the Tefal Cuisine Companion 1 Million Menus Cookbook