However much you enjoy cooking, there are always times when a microwave comes in handy. A quick jacket spud. A mug of hot chocolate. Reheating leftovers. Whereas if steaming's more your thing, a steam oven is a great alternative to conventional hob or counter-top steamers.
A freestanding microwave gives you the option to move it to elsewhere if space is at a premium in your kitchen. Most microwaves these days do more than cook, reheat and defrost. Look out for those with grills, or that offer convection cooking - so called 'combi' microwaves.
A built-in microwave does everything a freestanding one can with the added up advantage of freeing up counter space in your kitchen. Not every type of kitchen has space to build a microwave into a unit or above an oven - but it's something to consider when planning your kitchen redesign.
Cooking by steam has always been popular. But let's face it - many hob or counter-top steamers can be messy to clean after use. A steam oven takes away that hassle. Think of it as a microwave that cooks with steam: as simple to use, a healthy way to prepare meals, and easier to clean afterwards.
Standard microwaves are good for:
- Cooking, roasting and baking
- Quickly reheating meals
- Grilling meat (though not browning it)
- Timed cooking - leaving you free to do other things
- Steaming vegetables (some come with steam facilities)
Combination microwaves are also good for:
- Cooking with hot-aired convection - an alternative to microwaving
- Browning meat (if they come with a grill for this)
Steam ovens are good for:
- Cooking in a healthy way
- Sealing in the goodness of vegetables
- Making fluffy rice
- Keeping cooked food fresher