Whenever a company claims “this product can do everything!” I’m immediately sceptical. The Philips All-in-One Cooker literally calls it out in the product name. But can this one machine make up for a slow cooker, pressure cooker and more?
I’ve always been too scared to use a pressure cooker. They seem like a hoot on MasterChef, but I always worried I would burn myself just trying to get the lid off. I do have a hand-me-down slow cooker that I use for everything from pulled pork to Christmas pudding. It’s only a lil’ baby one, so I can’t fit any cuts of meat over 2kg in it. But the 8-litre Philips All-in-One Cooker is a monster. You could 100% fit lamb shanks in this thing comfortably.
I started with a few recipes from the booklet that came with the All-in-One Cooker. First up: spaghetti and meatballs. Now obviously you have to cook the pasta separately, but the goal is to contain the meatballs and sauce to the one pot wonder of this multi-cooker. I rolled the meatballs and mixed the sauce ahead of time, then it was simply just sear the meat using the Sauté function, pour over the sauce and use the Bake function to cook it all through.
Twenty minutes later it was all ready. It was a lot of food, but thankfully I had my family around for dinner to help polish it off. The sauce was way too sweet for my liking, but with a few simple tweaks, I would definitely make these meatballs again. Also very good for freezing, so even if you live alone it’s a great way of batch cooking.
The inner pot of the All-in-One Cooker was super easy to clean. It just lifts out of the machine. The same goes for the detachable inner-lid – much easier to clean than a regular pot or pan.
Next up: sticky date pudding. Now, the recipe booklet promises to cook this classic dessert in just six minutes. But be warned: it produces a lot of pudding. Aside from cutting up the dates and letting them soak in butter, bicarb soda and boiling water for a few minutes, the entire pudding and butterscotch sauce is cooked in the All-in-One. You just spread the cake mixture evenly on the base of the pot, then pour the sauce mixture over the back of a spoon so it distributes evenly. Six minutes in Bake mode and voila! You have delicious pudding.
I’ll admit that in the rush of family dinner I forgot the eggs in the cake batter (which I didn’t realise until the next morning), so I made the entire thing again just to be sure it worked. It’s a tough gig, but somebody’s got to test the sticky date pudding.
I also wanted to test some of the All-in-One Cooker’s pre-set functions. Under the Pressure Cooker function, there are pre-sets for everything from risotto to duck. I had some leftover bacon and veggies, so potato and bacon soup it was. I used the Sauté function to get the bacon and onion going, then just added the potatoes and stock to the pot, and the Soup function automatically set the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Once I very carefully released the valve, I turned on the Sauté function again and stirred in a butter and flour paste to thicken the soup. Bit of salt and pepper and it was a winner!
A few things to note with the Philips All-in-One Cooker, though. You need to pay attention to the valve. The recipe booklet tells you when to use the Bake, Seal and Vent functions, but in day-to-day cooking, it can be easy to forget. The cooker does take a little while to heat up, so just be patient. And if you’re doing a big family dinner, I’d recommend using the cooker for either your main or dessert, not both. It was just a bit stressful making meatballs, scoffing them down, then quickly cleaning up the pot to put the pudding on.
If you’re low on space or just hate having a heap of appliances on your kitchen bench, the Phillips All-in-One Cooker is ideal. It also makes for an outstanding housewarming gift (it retails for $239 but it’s currently on sale for $149 (save $90) on Amazon). Maybe they’ll even invite you round for dinner?