28th Feb 2008

Cookers

Wood Stoves

Wood stoves can serve as either a traditional cooking appliance or there are models which can also provide you and your home with domestic water and central heating. Traditional wood stoves are generally manufactured in cast iron and are available with overhead warming ovens. These stoves have a firebox which is filled with wood and which fuels the stove. There’s a choice of doors depending on the model you choose – either solid cast iron or glass and there is generally an ash collection pan fitted below the firebox. Wood stoves feature at least one large oven but again this depends on the model you choose. Other features include large all-in-one rectangular hobs with graduated heating zones and oven temperature controls.

Hobs

If you are buying an entirely new cooker and choose a built in oven you’ll need to buy a separate hob. There are many types available and the type you choose will depend initially on your budget and your fuel source. A popular choice (for people with a gas connection) is a gas hob combined with an electric oven. This gives you the same flexibility as a freestanding duel fuel cooker. Gas hobs give instant heat and excellent temperature control. If you have the space and do lots of cooking you could also choose a range cooker-style hob with four standard burners and an extra wok burner.

You have lots of choices if your fuel source is electricity. There are standard solid plate hobs, most of which feature the ‘red dot’ system (plates marked with the red dot heat up more quickly). Ceramic hobs heat more quickly than standard electric hotplates. The totally flat design, with no raised surfaces, hotplates or burners, also means they are much easier to clean, especially if you give them a wipe down after every use. If you decide to choose a ceramic hob, consider a model with a halogen zone. Halogen heat (from the halogen lamps built into the hob) is virtually instant, which means that it’s timesaving and energy efficient. Induction cooking is also available if you decide to choose a ceramic hob. This method works by heating by magnetic friction. This means that only the pan and the food inside it will be heated while the hob stays cool.

Cooker Hoods and Splash Backs

Cooker hoods are positioned above your cooker and are used to remove both smells and grease from the air in your kitchen. There are two basic types of cooker hood. Extraction hoods remove air and steam from the kitchen through a duct which leads to an outlet in an exterior wall. Recirculation hoods ‘clean’ the air and steam through a series of filters before releasing it back into the kitchen. This type of hood can be used if you don’t have access to an outside wall.

There is a wide variety of styles of cooker hood to choose from. Cooker hoods range from integrated styles which match your kitchen units to ultra-modern styles in aluminium and stainless steel, with some models featuring glass hoods.

A splash back is useful for protecting the wall behind your cooker from grease and food spatters. You can choose from a wide variety of splash backs in materials including glass or (if you want to co-ordinate with your appliances) stainless steel or aluminium. You could always choose a more traditional tiled splash back. Glazed tiles are very hygienic and easy to clean and the range of tile colours, shapes and sizes means that the decorative possibilities are virtually endless.

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