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Review: Tefal Cook4Me

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Tefal Cook4Me hero shot

Since the clocks went back it’s been so dark and cold after school, so it’s the perfect time of year to try out the Tefal Cook4Me, for making lots of hearty stews and other easy one pot dishes.

Tefal Cook4Me hero shot

I like to cook my family meals from scratch (mainly so I can try to stick to my diet!) but some days are busier than others and on the days where I’ve been tight on time, the Cook4Me has been really useful. It is a pressure cooker so it cooks the dishes in less time than in my oven, and I’ve found the meals prepared to be really tasty.

The first meal I tried was one of the 50 pre-programmed recipes that comes within the appliance; bacon and leek risotto. The Cook4Me comes with an ingredient book which lists the various foods and quantities you’d need, but no instructions – as these are stored in the machine. To prepare this dish for two people I needed:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 100g chopped onion
  • 100g thinly sliced leek
  • 100g cubed smoked bacon
  • 150g arborio rice
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 15g grated parmesan (to serve)
  • main meal recipe- bacon & leek risotto

    Bacon & Leek Risotto

    When I was ready to cook, I selected my recipe and it told me that it would take 10 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook, then it gave me step by step instructions on what to do. I started by putting the oil in and preheating the cooker – then adding the bacon. Each part took a couple of minutes and eventually once all the ingredients had been added, I closed the lid and allowed it to cook. This is the really easy bit as it times itself and once the dish is ready, the cooker switches to ‘keep warm’ mode until you’re ready to eat it.

    Although the process was easy and the results were great, it felt odd to plan a recipe without knowing how long it would take. You do get to learn how long the prep and cooking time are going to be when you get to the stage where everything is chopped and ready, but not knowing in advance feels odd, especially as many of us home cooks would decide upon a recipe based upon how much time we have that day to do prep work and stand over a dish. I know that I put my slow cooker on for those days when I’m in and out of the house and don’t have a solid amount of time to be in the kitchen at tea time. However just as the Apple iPod didn’t have an on/off button and we all got used to it, I guess you would get used to not knowing about the recipe times with the Cook4Me and learn to have faith that it will turn out ok in the end. On the first occasion where I used the Cook4Me I made sure I was going to be around to see the recipe through, so I could see how long it took.

    The second time I used the Cook4Me was a day when I was pressed for time. I’d just walked in the door from parents evening and only had 45 minutes to get something organised before I had to take my son to karate. On this day I used the manual settings on the Cook4Me to prepare my beef stew (something I would normally slow cook) and I was keen to see how it went. After preheating the cooker I added the beef chunks. The Cook4Me asked me what meat I was cooking and what type – a joint or chunks, so it could decide the appropriate amount of cooking time. After I browned the meat in the Cook4Me, I added my beef stock and chopped casserole vegetables. This is the advantage of the Cook4Me over my slow cooker – I could brown the meat and cook the dish all in one pot to save on washing up. Whereas with the slow cooker I would have browned the meat on the hob first then added it to the slow cooker leaving me an extra frying pan to wash up.

    beef stew

    Beef Stew

    Because I was creating this dish ‘freestyle’ and not using one of the Cook4Me recipes, I was unsure of how much stock to put in so I added 1 pint. In hindsight this was too much and I ended up thickening my eventual dish with gravy, but I was worried about not adding enough as the instruction book warns about liquid quantities. At least I know for next time so do anticipate a little trial and error if you are using the manual settings. I left the Cook4Me to do its thing whilst I took my son to karate and it was keeping warm when I got back. The meat was really tender and delicious – results as equal to the same dish cooked in the slow cooker – but in less time!

    I wanted to try the Cook4Me for something other than savoury dishes and there are 7 desserts programmed into the device. I love creme brûlée and was delighted that the recipe was in the cooker so I made a special trip to the supermarket to buy some double cream to make this pudding.

    At 8.30pm one night after we’d got our youngest in bed and the tween to her bedroom (so they knew nothing about it!) we put together the creme brûlée ingredients! I could see that the Cook4Me was advising a 10 minute prep time and an 18 minute cooking time so in my excitement to get a fresh creme brûlée I didn’t think through that the dish would need chilling afterwards and it wasn’t until after the puddings were made that the cooker told me to refrigerate for 3 hours! This mean that I wasn’t able to enjoy my dessert that evening and had to leave it until the next day instead. This is another reason that I’d love it if the Tefal guys could give us the cooking/ prep times in advance, so you can decide which dish to create based upon the time you have available rather than only learning this information when you have committed to a dish.

    creme brulee instructions

    On a side note, the Tefal Cook4Me seemed to leave out the vanilla essence ingredient in the step by step instructions. It was in the ingredients list but then I wasn’t asked to add it to the dish at any stage in the making. I would have thought that it should be added to the cream, egg and sugar mixture before you pour it into the ramekins, but this wasn’t asked for so I didn’t do it. It was only after the creme brûlée were cooked and I still had my vanilla essence on my counter top that I queried at which stage this should be added. I decided to add a few drops of vanilla essence to each ramekin dish to sit on top of the cooked brûlée before placing the ramekin into the fridge. The sugar was then sprinkled on top just before placing the ramekins under the grill to heat before serving. The creme brûlée took a lot longer from ingredient stage to eating than I would have liked but they did taste delicious – I’d serve these up at a dinner party and I think my guests would be impressed!!

    Home-made Creme Brûlée

    Home-made Creme Brûlée

    Next week I plan to use the Cook4Me to steam vegetables as you can set the appliance to perform a delayed start, so I can cook my veg to be ready for when I walk in the door! You can also use the Cook4Me to cook a whole chicken or a joint of meat so I will try that too. With Christmas coming up, I think the Cook4Me will be a useful piece of kit. If you are interested in one for yourself, here are the details:

    Name: Tefal Cook4Me Intelligent Multicooker
    Price: £249.99
    Learn more here: Tefal website

    I collaborate with another family blogger, Marianne Weekes from Mari’s World on a weekly Google Hangout called #MumsLikeUs and here is a special cooking episode that we created. In it we discuss multi cookers, I have the Cook4Me to discuss and she has a Fast Slow Pro. See what we think below!

    Disclosure: I was sent the Tefal Cook4Me to review and all opinions in this post and on the video are my own.

    Article Categories:
    Food · Reviews

    Comments to Review: Tefal Cook4Me

    • I’m not sure what to make of this, it seems convenient and annoying at the same time. Your review is great in that it points out the downside of having no idea how long the food will take, that is a huge fail. But there are clearly some good time saving reasons to have this machine. Pretty pricey though.

      Phoebe @ Lou Messugo 16th November 2015 10:25 am Reply
      • I always like to provide an honest review and I did find it a little unusual to not know how long something was going to take at the outset. However I have found that it has done dishes super quick which has cut down on my time spent in the kitchen. I do know how long a chicken tikka masala will be however as I saw a video on the Tefal website… 3 minutes! I have to try this for myself so this week we are having curry one night!

        Nadine Hill 16th November 2015 11:20 am Reply
    • I’ve been contemplating a slow cooker — it certainly makes warming meals seem easy to make.

      Jennifer Howze 16th November 2015 10:58 am Reply
      • Ah! This one is a fast cooker rather than slow but it does keep the meals warm afterwards!! Thanks for commenting:-)

        Nadine Hill 16th November 2015 11:18 am Reply
    • Oooh that looks great and a good time saver! I’d be interested to see one in action. x

      Emma 16th November 2015 11:08 am Reply
      • Definitely a good time saver… I’m experimenting more with it this week!

        Nadine Hill 16th November 2015 11:16 am Reply
    • Interesting. I have a slow cooker that you can brown and slow cook in and use it a lot. I am interested in a multicooker, but will wait until they come down in price

      Jen Walshaw (@Mum_TheMadHouse) 16th November 2015 11:22 am Reply
    • Wow, what a fancy device, I am totally impressed with he fact that it displays electronic step by step instructions!It does sounds, on the other hand, like a beast that needs tamed, as for free style cooking you can go totally wrong and burn the whole lot so I am not sure I would see the advantages in using it in this way!xx

      oana79 16th November 2015 4:54 pm Reply
      • The step by step instructions are really good for new cooks I think – it will tell them exactly what to do and when! x

        Nadine Hill 17th November 2015 7:02 pm Reply
    • This looks fabulous!

      I love the idea of anything that makes life easier and I think this definitely would x x

      Cass@frugalfamily 16th November 2015 5:20 pm Reply
    • Nadine, this is a really good review, because you’ve been so honest about your experience with it. I have fancied one of these because I love the idea of being able to put the ingredients into the cooker, setting it to come on and cook while I go out, and the food is ready when I get back. I find coordinating meals that take longer than 15 minutes a pain when I’m looking after the kids, because they frequently want my attention while I’m standing at the cooker. Also, being chained to the kitchen cooking while you could be out in the park is always annoying. I find that so much of my time is spent standing around in the kitchen minding food while my kids slowly lose the plot. And then by the time I’m ready to finish in the kitchen, they’re hungry for lunch, and we have to eat and clear up before we can go anywhere again. Urgh, I’m getting frustrated just thinking about it! Anyway, that’s the long-winded reason why I’d love to try one out. I can live with the glitches you discussed! XX

      Fiona @ Free Range Chick 16th November 2015 7:48 pm Reply
      • It’s good to know that my review was useful. There’s no point in glossing over the things you find a bit odd- busy mums like us need to know the pros and cons to make an informed choice!! I hope you manage to get one and it makes your cooking life easier! x

        Nadine Hill 17th November 2015 7:02 pm Reply
    • This sounds like a great gadget and one that would be perfect to have to cook meals after a hard day at work.

      Nayna Kanabar 16th November 2015 8:14 pm Reply
      • Definitely! I’m doing a 3 minute tikka masala in it tomorrow!!

        Nadine Hill 17th November 2015 7:00 pm Reply
    • This sounds like a useful gadget in some ways, but I don’t like the fact that you don’t know how long things will take before you start. For that reason I don’t that I’d ever use it.

      Mums do travel 16th November 2015 9:42 pm Reply
    • Ohh what a great sounding slow cooker – I really need to get my head around using mine more. x

      Sarah Bailey 16th November 2015 11:05 pm Reply
    • What a thorough review Nadine. I have to say that for the price you would expect to know how long things would take to cook, but also love experimenting!

      Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas @Kahanka 17th November 2015 10:22 am Reply
      • Experimenting with it is what I’m enjoying now actually Mirka!

        Nadine Hill 17th November 2015 7:03 pm Reply
    • Oh wow that looks totally amazing, I would love to give that a try. I’m useless in the kitchen haha x

      Sonia @ This Mummy Loves 17th November 2015 1:52 pm Reply
    • Oh this looks amazing – I have the Optigrill and it has revolutionised my cooking experience

      Kara 17th November 2015 6:40 pm Reply
    • What a snazzy looking cooker it is. I’d forgotten all about pressure cookers, there are that many devices for the kitchen these days. We have a slow cooker but I like fast so this would be a better option for us – I just need more kitchen cupboard or worktop space. Love that you can cook things like creme brulee in it.

      Samantha Fernley 17th November 2015 9:52 pm Reply
    • I really like the look of this but I wonder if it’s actually trying to be too clever? I think your review is brilliant.

      Globalmouse 22nd November 2015 1:53 pm Reply
    • I’m not sure what I’m more impressed with, the cooking from scratch every time, sticking to a diet or the review itself! Cook 4 Me sounds amazing and perfect for time short families too plus you feature one of my favourite desserts ever! I must get some tips on cooking, need to start doing all evening meals from next week when my husband is back in London – eek!

      Charly Dove 23rd November 2015 1:53 pm Reply
    • I am a huge fan of my slow cooker but I also find it a bit of a pain that I often have to use a pan as well as using my slow cooker. Not having to do this sounds brilliant!

      Jess @ Catch A Single Thought 23rd November 2015 2:57 pm Reply
    • I love the look of this but not sure I can justify spending that amount of money of it! Wonder if it will have any money off in the sales?!!

      Gemma 24th November 2015 12:52 pm Reply

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