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Slim wine cooler

A wine cooler is a great product. It keeps your wine at the perfect drinking temperature, ready for dinner or unexpected guests. A small freestanding 12-bottle slim wine cooler is fantastic for apartments or smaller places due to its slim size.

With less than 11 inch width, it can fit almost anywhere, but amazingly can hold up to 12 bottles of wine. you will like the modern and stylish look of this modern wine coolers. Such an appliance would make a great addition to any kitchen or dining room.

These coolers usually come with lots of great features, such as slide-out chrome shelves, double pane glass door, control panel with an LED temperature display, adjustable thermostat, thermoelectric technology and soft interior lighting just to name a few. Wine coolers run quietly and are energy efficient. The slim cooler itself has one single temperature zone, which means that it is only meant to store one type of wine at a perfect temperature and it is usually not recommended to store sparkling wines, which should be chilled at lower temperatures. However, the thermoelectric technology does not produce disrupting vibrations. This means wine can age naturally as nothing will affect the sediment.

All in all, if you are a wine connoisseur who loves to enjoy a glass of perfectly cooled wine, a slim wine cooler would make a great investment. Such a cooler usually comes at a good price and, given their size, can easily be fitted even in the smallest space in your home.

Products from Amazon.co.uk

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Nespresso coffee maker

The Nespresso D90 Essenza should be included in a espresso making reviews package because it offers a very good price to features ratio.

For a machine at such a modest price, the Nespresso D90 Essenza delivers some amazing features. Still, there are some drawbacks you need to know about before deciding.

The D90 Essenza produces an amazing 19-bar of pressure. That’s almost unheard of in a machine that sells for an entry-level price. Luckily, it makes a far better than entry-level cup. That pressure is one of the key reasons why, since it helps squeeze every drop of flavor out of your coffee.

Also surprising is the inclusion of a ThermoBlock heating system. More than just a marketing buzzword, this mechanism ensures plenty of heat. Combining with its electronic temperature regulation, the D90 distributes it well throughout the system. That provides an even brew from start to finish, another key factor in producing a superior shot.

You’ll get plenty of it, too, thanks to the 34-ounce water tank. Happily, it’s removable for easy fill and clean up. At 34-ounces you have plenty of coffee to serve all your guests at the same time. And, since the tank is removable, you can easily use specialty de-calcification products or a simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda once a month to rinse away any build-up. Keeping your tank clean helps keep your brews top notch.

There is one limitation that causes this model to be put on the “Not for everyone” list, though. The Nespresso D90 Essenza uses proprietary coffee capsules that must be purchased from Nespresso. That’s a surprising design choice and will limit acceptance of an otherwise fine machine.

If you find capsules with a brew you like, excellent. Nespresso offers a number of pre-measured single-serve capsules in a number of blends. They offer a dozen varieties in single shot and double shot sizes.

But being required to purchase them from Nespresso is limiting. Most consumers want to purchase their key ingredient anywhere and everywhere and in different forms. You can’t use ESE pods or grounds, if you prefer; you’re locked into their capsules.

It certainly is convenient; you won’t have to tamp your grounds. And, the design makes it a breeze to dispose of the coffee when you’re done brewing. A used-capsule drawer can hold up to 14 spent capsules so you don’t necessarily have to dump one in the trash can the instant you want to make another shot.

The unit offers maximum simplicity in another way: there are only two buttons. To the left of the spout there’s a red On/Off button, to the right, a green brewing button. That certainly makes the whole operation as straightforward as possible. On the downside, many espresso lovers will miss the external hot water spout, a steam wand, and other extra features supplied by so many espresso machines.

Someone looking for the ultimate in ease of use will find the Nespresso D90 Essenza attractive, especially given the high pressure and the low price. But for those who want a little more flexibility, particularly with the main ingredient, best to look elsewhere.

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Breville espresso maker

The Breville BES860XL is their way to take a stance on espresso and coffee making.

When you read that the Breville BES860XL is programmable, don’t panic. Happy baristas everywhere know that no computer skills are needed to operate this fine espresso maker. All you need is a love for a fine brew and a few minutes of free time to enjoy the process of creating it.

You won’t need too much time, though, thanks in part to the integrated grinder. Clean up doesn’t take much time, either, because the grinder is removable. This conical burr style unit lets you make your grounds fresh, a key factor in making a fine brew. The hopper holds up to eight ounces of beans at a time, so you’ll be able to make plenty for you and some special friends.

Using the grinding dial, you can dial in the texture you and they prefer. Set it manually or use a preset grind and relax knowing you’ll get exactly what you want each time. The grinder will stop automatically when it’s finished. And, the grinder is so well integrated it doesn’t merely ground the beans, but moves the output straight into your filter.

Those grounds won’t give you any trouble during the brewing process, either, thanks to the BES860XL’s filter options. The machine is packaged with both single-wall and dual-wall filters so you can have a lot of fun experimenting. It won’t take long before you settle on something you like best, and you can’t go wrong with this unit no matter which you choose.

You’ll be able to make an enormous amount, too, because Breville designed a huge 67-ounce water tank for this model. Luckily, it’s removable, making filling and clean up a breeze. The built-in water filtration system ensures that one of your key ingredients is always in optimal form, too.

Cleaning a 67-ounce water tank can sound like a big chore, but it doesn’t have to be. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda can keep it free of calcium build-up, or you can purchase any of dozens of specialty de-calcification products to make it even easier.

This Breville model also comes with an espresso tamper. With its magnetized locking system you can tamp your grounds while the device is still attached to the machine. Or, disconnect it and use it free hand on the counter, if you prefer.

Tamping is always a good idea. It makes your grounds uniform to keep your brew even throughout the entire liquid. To accomplish that, it’s key to have a tamper that fits your unit well. Since this one is designed especially for the BES860XL, you know it’s just right.

It’s also important to have a puck with just the right moisture content. Removing excess water helps produce the best brew. So, buyers will be glad to know the BES860XL has a dry puck feature to keep it at optimal level.

The Breville BES860XL has convenience features that make brewing that fine shot no hassle at all. One of those is the handy hideaway storage tray to hold small items that you always need ready to hand. Spoons and more fit just fine. Ease of use and a stellar espresso from an integrated machine. We like it!

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De Longhi espresso making machines

Good espresso needs a clean machine of good quality.

De Longhi offers a variety of espreso maker machines and there should be something for every life style.

De Longhi BAR32

The De Longhi BAR32 is a delight blend of old and new. Its retro look is combined with some of the most advanced features you’ll find on espresso makers anywhere.

Some espresso lovers will, of course, prefer the more contemporary design of so many coffee machines. Admittedly, the combination of polished metal and black plastic, coupled with an almost Swedish design in many cases, does make for a good looking machine. But we love the ’50s look of this unusual, rounded machine. Since coffee is a matter of taste, why shouldn’t the coffee maker design be?

There’s no subjective element when it comes to function, though. The BAR32 has features that are more often found only on professional-level units costing ten times as much.

The first of those is the pump-driven mechanism this espresso maker incorporates. Steam machines often do a fine job. But to make the finest cup you have to have the highest pressure and only a pump can do that. Still, don’t be misled. Why they called it the BAR32 is anybody’s guess. It does create a very respectable 15-bar, though.

The BAR32 also features self-priming, a very handy feature that lets you create your espresso very quickly and efficiently. The simple controls add nicely to the ease-of-use theme.

The portafilter adds to that simplicity, eliminating the need for a high-end grinder. That theme is continued by the ability to use ESE pods. Pop one in to brew, dump it out for easy clean up. Or use grounds, as you prefer. This model’s feature is actually easier to use than that of many professional units.

And, speaking of easy, you’ll like the clear 35-ounce removable water tank and the removable drip tray. Both those make for easy clean up. The water tank also ensures you can make plenty of fine espresso for the guests without undue waiting.

The stainless steel boiler heats up in a flash, so even those first cups will come out super fast without any sacrifice in quality. One reason is this stainless-steel model’s ability to maintain a stable temperature throughout the process, not something every steel model can claim.

Luckily, a very serviceable swivel jet frothing wand is on board to add a nice fluffy foam to each one. Cappuccino lovers will be very grateful that it requires minimal skill to top off your cup using this feature. And, thanks to the built-in Sempre Crema Filter, you can have a fine caramel-colored crema for your latte that doesn’t require you to have the skills of a professional barista.

The dual thermostats also help up your skill level with no effort on your part. There’s one for water and one for steam, ensuring that you know exactly what’s going on with your brew at all times. The many easy-view indicator lights are equally helpful.

It’s great to find an unusual-looking espresso maker with the unusual advantage of professional features at a modest price. How the company can do that may be a mystery, but the espresso from the DeLonghi BAR32 isn’t. Its quality is obvious without reading the last chapter.

De Longhi EC155

It’s odd. The De Longhi EC155 is usually considered a mid-level espresso maker, not top of the line. We can only imagine that view must be based on the low price alone because, when considering its list of features, it’s a stellar unit.

That list starts with the EC155’s outstanding professional appearance. True, those interested in a great shot are naturally most concerned with great function. But an espresso maker is also an appliance, so why not have something good looking in the kitchen?

The EC155 has a professional feature few low-price coffee makers offer: a pump-driven mechanism. Typically, less expensive machines are driven by steam. That limits the amount of pressure they can deliver. Professional baristas know that truly high pressure is a big help for making a truly superior brew. Creating 15-bar from the pump, this model will never fall short in that area.

Unlike many professional models, the boiler is stainless steel rather than brass. But that’s to be expected in a mid-level model. To get brass would raise the price considerably. No one will have any reason to be disappointed in the results, though. The EC155 makes an outstanding brew. Temperature control is not quite as uniform with stainless steel, but when the model is well-made the difference is minor.

One reason is the EC155’s dual-function filter holder. This ingenious mechanism lets air enter during the brewing process, resulting in a superior cream.

With a 1-liter (35 oz) removable water tank, you’ll be able to create plenty of it, too. Since it is removable, clean up is easier. Many espresso maker owners get a little lax about mineral buildup. It can be a pain to de-calcify some models. With a removable tank, there’s no reason to forego the effort. Pour on a little vinegar-baking soda mixture in the sink and voila! No more calcium carbonate.

The unit also holds ESE pods (Easy Serving Espresso) to make creating your first-rate brew a low-grade effort. Popping one in makes it simple to create a cup without spooning. Dumping it out afterward makes clean up simpler.

There are other convenience features on board here, such as the swivel jet frother. Adding a nice foamy touch to your cup is a breeze. For some, it might be a little close to the counter top. Ditto the spigot. That’s less than ideal, but easily solved. Place an attractive wooden or marble block on the counter, then the EC155 on the block. Beauty and function pleasantly combined. Of course, even that’s not necessary if you use standard-sized espresso and froth cups.

Those are minor limitations for a machine that makes such a fine brew at such a modest price. There’s nothing modest about its ambition: to make an espresso that is second to none every time. We’re happy to note that’s a goal at which this coffee maker succeeds with ease. Overall, the De Longhi EC155 is a great value.

De Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica

There’s something a little odd about presuming to offer a review of an espresso maker. After all, don’t you have to actually taste the coffee? And isn’t that ultimately a matter of taste? Sure, but the De Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica shows that a blend of objective attributes and enthusiastic espresso lovers offer something worth heeding.

Note, for example, the integrated burr-style coffee grinder. Baristas amateur and professional alike know that the freshest grounds are a must for the freshest, most delicious brew. Having a grinder on board, then, is more than just a convenience. It’s a must. And, with a 7-ounce bean container you can easily fill the tank, then remove and dispose of the grounds.

The goodness continues with two stainless steel boilers, providing you with stellar heat distribution. Why is that important? Because, again as the pros know and the espresso enthusiast soon discovers, hot spots spoil the brew. A mixture of burnt and underdone coffee can’t be good, right? With 1150 watt, you’ll never have to worry about creating the high heat needed to make that really zingy French Roast, either.

It’s equally good to keep the espresso at an even temperature after the initial brew. After all, unless you make only one cup at a time, you’ll have more to enjoy after the first. Those second, third, and fourth cups should – and could – be as good as the first provided the brew doesn’t sit too long, of course. With an instant reheat feature to keep the liquid at the ideal temperature while you enjoy your cup, the ESAM3300 Magnifica makes that effort, well, effortless.

An electronic thermostat ensures accuracy in the brew while giving you accurate readings. And, an adjustable spigot is just the thing for those varying sized cups you and your guests enjoy. You can use this unit just as easily with everything from the tiniest espresso cup to a tall travel mug. The Cappucino System rotates 180 degrees to accommodate any size milk container, too.

Naturally, you have many things to keep track of during your day and forgetting to shut off the espresso maker after you’ve finished your drink isn’t always uppermost in mind. So, thankfully, De Longhi has provided this unit with a 3-hour shut off function to ensure your safety, and the well being of your machine.

That convenience extends in other directions, as well.

Everyone finds caring for their espresso maker one of their least favorite things to do. De Longhi shrunk that effort from “horrible” to “not bad” by incorporating a 60-ounce removable water reservoir for easy maintenance. Build up of calcium need never occur here because you don’t want to slog through a cleaning session. The machine even tells you when you need to de-calcify. That attention to details to make your life easy extends even to the removable drip tray.

Is the De Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica objectively a superb piece of equipment? We don’t know how to make that assertion for everyone. But the facts suggest it is, and our experience says, “Yes, oh, yes.”

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Slow cooker versus Dutch oven

Slow cooker or Dutch oven? That is a dilemma.

You can have them both, but should you choose one over the other, you had better think of the pros and cons of each one.

By design, the slow cooker and Dutch oven are similar in shape and function, both achieving similar results. But there are pros and cons to each. Let’s take a look at the battle of the deep-dish cookers and find out which one comes out on top:

Slow cooker pros and cons

One of the best features of the slow cooker is how it does its job, cooking a full meal, in so little space. Unlike the oven and cook-top, the slow cooker can be relegated to a corner and go about its business virtually unseen.

Cooking a meal or side dish with your slow cooker also frees up your oven and cook-top for other dishes. How many times have you tried to plan a big meal and have to shuffle dishes in and out of the oven and around the burners?

The ‘set it and forget it’ slow cooker method frees you up when cooking dishes that you may otherwise have to watch, stir, and keep from burning. The low cooking temperatures keep dishes simmering just right so you don’t have to worry about watching a pot boil. This low, even temperature takes the guess work out of many dishes you may have previously spent time fretting over.

Cooking a meal in a slow cooker is also more economical when it comes to energy consumption. Heating up a slow cooker, even considering the length of time, takes less energy than heating up a large oven or letting a burner stay on, radiating its heat out into the kitchen. The heating element in the slow cooker is contained and is designed to heat only the insert that holds the food. You’re not spending money to heat a large space nor are you letting the heat escape into the room.

One of the downsides to slow cooker cooking is there are just some ingredients that don’t work well in a slow cooker. For instance, dairy products. Making a cream or milk based dish becomes more complicated, involving extra steps and extreme caution so as not to curdle the milk.

If you’re not careful choosing and cutting up the food that goes into the slow cooker, you may end up with food that’s either under cooked or overcooked. For instance, many cooks are used to coarse cutting vegetables for stew, but vegetables cook slower in the slow cooker and may need to be cut finer, or cooked longer. Meat typically cooks faster than vegetables in the slow cooker, making the size of the ingredients important.

slow cooker meals are best when using fresh meats and vegetables. So, if you live in an area in which you must rely more on canned foods, the texture in a slow cooker will be disappointing. Because canned foods are already processed, they may become quite soft and mushy in the slow cooker. Picture cooking canned peas for 8 hours, even on such a low heat. Yes, you can add the canned veggies in during the last minutes of cooking time, but if the idea is to walk away and have dinner ready when you come home, it sort of defeats the purpose.

Dutch oven pros and cons

These sturdy pots were the typical tools of the trade during the good old days. Picture an open pit with cowboys circled around waiting to dig into their stew. The even heating of a heavy duty Dutch oven is almost second to none. You may remember your grandparents of parents stirring stews on the stove or basting a pot roast in the oven in one of these big pots with the heavy lid.

A wide variety of meals can be prepared in a Dutch oven. They are duel purpose; you can begin a meal by browning the meat right in the Dutch oven on the stove burner, then add the vegetables, cover it, and pop it in the oven to continue cooking. Or you can brown your beef over the burner, then add the ingredients for chili and continue cooking it right on top of the stove.

Sounds ideal, but there are a few drawbacks. That chili or beef stew on top of the stove will some watching. No matter how low your burner goes, you’ll need to stir it up to keep it from sticking or burning to the bottom of the Dutch oven. This is a pot that needs watching.

Using your Dutch oven, whether in the oven or on top of the stove takes up space. If you want to add a nice loaf of crusty homemade bread to your pot roast meal, you’ll have to do some juggling to time your bread in the oven. Adjusting the temperature becomes an issue, too.

Dutch ovens convey heat extremely well, making the temperature you use in the oven and on the stove top very important. A few degrees makes a difference. An oven that runs hot can cause your meal to burn or dry out before you know it.

Slow cooking a meal in a Dutch oven requires a heated oven or a burner on the stove top. Either way, it takes a lot of energy to heat the inside of a large oven just to cook what’s in a five quart pot. And a burner radiates heat out into the room; it does not trap it under the pot.

Removing your Dutch oven full of food from the oven or burner proves to be quite a feat for many people due to the fact that they are usually very heavy and retain the heat very well. They are hot for a long, long time which makes them the kind of thing to keep children away from. Dishing up a meal becomes a bit hazardous because the container itself remains hot for a long time after you remove it from the heating source. So, what makes a Dutch oven cook well, its weight, also makes it harder to handle.

And the winner is…

While Dutch ovens are more versatile in the dishes they can deliver, slow cookers are the overall winners of this battle for several reasons. slow cookers take the prize when it comes to freeing up cooking space for other chores. Their compact size, virtually a mini-oven, also cooks with less energy, which saves you money.

Because you can walk away from the meal, the slow cooker becomes the ultimate time-saver in the kitchen. Once preparation is done, you have the freedom to do other chores, or even leave the house. slow cookers do the cooking part of a meal for you – just set it and forget it.

You also can’t debate the safety issue of a slow cooker versus a Dutch oven. The new slow cookers have cool exteriors and built in timers to ensure they shut off when the meal is done. Plus, you aren’t constantly opening the oven to check on the meal, nor are you lifting the hot, heavy lid to stir the contents. Once the meal is in the slow cooker, you normally don’t have to worry about picking the lid up again until it’s dinnertime.

We may never give up our Dutch ovens, but I think it could take a backseat to the slow cooker in your kitchen. Keep your slow cooker handy on your counter top and see how many times you choose it now over your Dutch oven.

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Pressure cooking versus slow cooking

We’ve all heard of a slow cooker, a.k.a. crock pot, and we’ve all probably heard of a pressure cooker.

While most of you know and probably use a slow cooker, some of you may not know what a pressure cooker is, how it works, or the benefits of using a pressure cooker. While both the slow cooker and the pressure cooker cook foods like meats, vegetables, casseroles and beans very well, pressure cookers can also cook things like cheesecake and oatmeal.

Speed of cooking

Pressure cookers cook in significantly less time than slow cookers. And, you don’t have to be super organized to prepare a meal in a pressure cooker, where with a slow cooker you do. For instance, using a slow cooker, you have to get up in the morning and prepare all your ingredients and place them in the slow cooker in order for them to cook all day while you’re at work or running errands. When you use a pressure cooker, you can come home from work and in just a few minutes time have a quick, healthy and delicious meal all prepared all at once.

Convenience

Pressure cookers are also much more convenient than slow cookers. For instance, to gain the maximum flavor from meat, it should be browned. When you use a slow cooker an extra pan has to be used for the browning, but you can brown the meat right inside a pressure cooker. If you have a recipe that calls for bacon, you can fry up the bacon right in the pressure cooker as well. So there is no extra washing of a pan using a pressure cooker like there is if you were to use a slow cooker.

Time-saving

Another advantage of using a pressure cooker over a slow cooker is the fact that you can caramelize onions in the pressure cooker. Again, if you needed caramelized onions in a recipe for a slow cooker, you’d have to prepare them in a separate pan. Not only is this annoying, but it’s also more time consuming. Most of you are rushed in the mornings as it is, and rarely have time to prepare a dish for the slow cooker, but you can have the same great tasting meals, and more, using a pressure cooker.

Energy savings

Not only will you not have to rush to get it ready in the morning for dinner time, but you’ll also save energy. Instead of having a slow cooker that’s plugged in all day and using energy, you’ll be able to prepare yummy, healthy and delicious meals in just a few minutes time using a pressure cooker.

There you have it. Pressure cookers can actually save you more time and money over a crock pot. For those who’ve swore by a crock pot, why not give a pressure cooker a try next time? You might be pleasantly surprised at how much you like it.

Conclusion

Choose what it is best for your style of cooking, but to make things more difficult, there are now slow pressure cookers, small appliances with similar controls to a slow cooker also able to pressure cook. These appliances do both, slow cook and pressure cook. May be this would be the solution if kitchen space is at a premium.