How do you view your microwave oven? Is it just a box that is called upon to heat your leftovers or cook a ready meal after a hard day at work, or does it play a big role in your kitchen? Brian Stormont discovers there is a lot more you can do with your micro.
The microwave oven, it’s just for re-heating food and cooking ready meals isn’t it?
Actually, it’s not. Your humble microwave is one of your most versatile kitchen appliances that can complete a myriad of fantastic cooking processes for you.
Over the years I have changed the way I use my microwave and the results are fantastic.
You can make a quick latte or a mocha in the micro, cook an omelette or make the fluffiest scrambled eggs.
In fact, as my colleague Julia Bryce revealed recently you can easily produce the tastiest fudge only using your trusted microwave.
Now, I can remember the microwave mainstream coming on the scene in the 80s. It wasn’t as affordable back then as it is today, costing a few hundred pounds to buy.
Fast forward to 2020 and the range of ovens is absolutely huge and you can buy a really good model for way south of £100.
Despite its relative expensive cost 40 years ago, a micro very quickly became the must-have kitchen essential as consumers marvelled at how quickly and conveniently they could re-heat or heat food.
Although it seems like a relatively new invention, the microwave oven has been around since 1946.
Harnessing radar technology developed during the Second World War, American engineer Percy Spencer built the “Radarange” in 1846, and the first oven for home use became available in 1955.
But these units were far too large and expensive for use in the common kitchen.
Sharp came on to the scene and, after developing the first microwave with a turntable in the 1960s. Low-cost ovens for home use were produced in the late 1970s.
To rapidly heat food, the oven passes microwave radiation through it, while water and fat molecules absorb energy from the microwaves using dielectric heating.
Water molecules are electric dipoles which have a positive and a negative charge at either end. These rotate as they attempt to align with the microwaves. These molecules hit other molecules during the process which causes friction and, as a result, energy is produced.
The energy created by this raises the temperature of the food in the microwave, similar to heat being transferred to a person’s body when in contact with another.
Microwaves have a come a long way in the last 70-plus years, now cooking and heating food faster than ever before. They also have a number of different settings and can do anything from defrost your food to make a delicious three-course meal.
Why not try out some of these simple recipe ideas that use your microwave?
The best scrambled eggs ever!
- Two free range eggs
- Splash of milk
- Salt and pepper
- Knob of butter
- 25g grated cheddar cheese (optional)
- Whisk the eggs, milk and salt and pepper together in a microwaveable bowl.
- Add the knob of butter and cheese (if using).
- Microwave on full power for 50 seconds.
- Stir and break up and return to the microwave and cook on full power for another 50 seconds to a minute.
- Allow to stand for a minute while the residual heat completes the cooking.
- Break up and serve. The eggs will be lovely and fluffy and the cheese takes it to another level.
Mum’s amazing and healthy meatloaf
As it says, this is my mum’s recipe and it is absolutely delicious. You just want more and more of it.
- 100g onions finely chopped or grated
- 100g grated carrot
- 500g less than 5% fat minced beef
- I tbsp Worcester sauce
- 1tbsp tomato puree
- I tbsp mixed herbs
- Salt and pepper
- Two beef stock cubes
- I egg beaten
- Combine the onion and the carrot and microwave in a 1 litre microwave dish for 3-4 minutes.
- Mix in the other ingredients, combine well and push down in the dish.
- Microwave on medium for about 15 minutes,
- Allow to cool and slice.
A marvellous mocha
Enjoy a mocha without leaving the house.(Serves 1)
- 1 mug of milk – full fat is best
- 1 tbsp of drinking chocolate
- 2 tbsp of instant barrista style coffee
- Combine all the ingredients and microwave on full power for 1 minute.
- Remove and mix again before cooking, again on full power, for another minute.
- Mix again and serve how you like with chocolate sprinkled on top, whipped cream or marshmallows – or all three.