“ Brand: Zanussi / Fuel Type: Gas / Range Type: Slide-in Range „
A reliable cooker is an essential part of most homes so when my old cooker started to only agree to light three burners and frequently extinguished the flame in the oven I decided the time had come to find a replacement.
I have always used a gas-cooker at home so it was the only type I considered as a replacement, I am sure electric is fine but as the expression goes you can't teach an old dog new tricks!
My first problem arose when I started looking around and realised that most of the products on the market were too big for the space I had. The free-standing space that was available in my kitchen was 55cm wide and the majority of the products were 60cm. I don't know if this is a new thing as I don't recall having to hunt down the size when I purchased my last cooker but that was probably about 12 years ago. I really didn't have much choice of models because of this and the fact that I really needed the product quite quickly made the selection even more limited. I actually picked the Zanussi ZKG5540WFN simply because it was the only 55cm wide, white, double-ovened product that I could find in stock anywhere. Unfortunately because I wanted a product that was not the most standard size I had to pay £579 for it from John Lewis who provide free delivery. I found it in several well-known stores at about the same price but no-one else had it in stock for immediate delivery.
Since this is a gas cooker it had to be fitted by a Gas Safe engineer (formerly Corgi).
So after having very little option about my purchase have I been happy with my selection?
This cooker is white although I believe you can buy the same specification in a stainless steel finish as well. Both the top and bottom ovens have large viewing glass doors and the handles of both ovens are thick and white. I like the handles as they are chunky and easy to grip, even with oven gloves on; they are also smooth which makes them easy to clean. The cooker comes with a clear glass lid which covers the four burners which have black metal pan supports. I was surprised to find the lid was clear, I prefer a frosted appearance, especially if I haven't had time to clean the top as opaque lids will cover the mess!
The controls are actually set on an angled piece at the front and the burners are slightly recessed. This makes it very easy to see the settings and adjust them whilst cooking; however it does mean that they get easily splashed.
Overall this is not the most modern and sleek looking cooker. It is quite solid and chunky looking so it may not suit everyone kitchen but it looks ok in mine.
===Using the Hob===
This cooker has four burners on the hob, there is one large rapid-boil one, two medium rings and then one small simmer ring. The rings are lit using the electric ignition button, you press the button whilst turning the hob ring on. You do need to hold the ring button in for a couple of seconds or the ring goes out immediately which is a bit of a nuisance if you don't notice. The rings all do their jobs well enough but I dislike the way they have been placed; the large and small rings are at the front whilst the two medium burners are at the back. I tend to use the medium burners for frying onions or meat and I find it difficult to do that because of the reach to the back of the cooker, I am only 5'2" and this may well not be an issue for taller people. However I also like to cook stews by simmering on the lowest light for a couple of hours and that means having a pan at the front of the cooker unsupervised. I no longer have small children but I still think it is a safety hazard.
The black enamel pan supports are very solid and all of my saucepans sit quite stably on them and they can be removed in two parts for easy cleaning. Closing the lid acts as a safety cut-out for the burners.
===Using the Grill/Top Oven===
One of the best features of my old cooker was the amazingly quick grill. I was therefore shocked when I first used the grill on my new cooker. The grill lights easily with the electric ignition but it just seems to take a really long time to heat up. Instead of being able to toast fresh bread in a couple of minutes it probably takes a good 5 or6 minutes to do the first round of toast, after that it does seem to speed up a bit. I have now learned to pre-heat the grill but that was just something I have never done before when using gas.
The grill pan has a detachable handle that you have to slide on sideways whilst pressing a button on the handle. This proved a trifle difficult at first but now I find it quite simple, it is just a matter of learning the technique. The grill pan itself is quite square but doesn't go across the full width of the oven, toasting four slices of bread is ok but six can be a more awkward and will require frequent rearrangement to ensure even toasting.
I grill the majority of my meat and for this purpose the grill definitely has to be preheated. However I do find it cooks meat evenly as long as it is not too close to the edge. Unfortunately there is no Way of moving the shelf position, the height of grilling can only be adjusted by turning the rack inside the grill pan over.
All grilling has to take place with the door open which I think is standard practice for gas safety now.
The enamel grill pan and rack are easy to clean.
One of the things that drew me to this cooker was the double oven, with two teenage children I often found that there just wasn't quite enough space in my previous oven if I was doing a roast dinner and at other times I felt I was heating a large oven for one person's meal. The top oven on this cooker is about half the volume of the bottom oven. I find it take about 15 minutes to pre-heat effectively but it works very well and just has the one shelf. It is particularly useful when trying to cook things requiring completely different temperatures. There is no fan in this oven so it would be able to be used even if there was an electric power-failure as it could be lit with a match if the ignition didn't work.
The only thing I don't like about the grill/top oven is the control. One dial works both controls; you turn it to the right for the grill and the left for the oven. I have found that when I am busy I have turned the grill off but sometimes pushed the dial too far the other way as it does not have an easily recognisable, physical stop when it reaches the off position.
===Using the Main Oven===
The main oven uses and automatic ignition and it should be lit by turning the dial high whilst having the door open and then selecting the required temperature. The instructions state that this oven cannot be used without electric power due to the fan, however this does not appear to be a fan-oven and I believe there is a cooling fan instead which works whilst the main oven is being used.
The oven is supplied with two shelves which have stops at the back so you cannot push baking trays etc too far which I think is useful.
I have found that all my food has been cooking really evenly and in about the right amount of time and there is nothing that I haven't been pleased with.
Both the ovens have the self-clean liners on the sides and they do seem to be clean and splash free but the bottom of the oven unfortunately still requires the use of elbow-grease!
The oven does have an extra low setting for use with keeping things warm but I have not used that so I do not know how efficient it is.
This cooker also comes with a digital timer and clock. I find this very useful to keep an eye on the time when I am cooking but I do not like the idea of having the cooker turning itself on when I am not there. I would not like to leave food out of the fridge before cooking and then I would be worried that the gas wouldn't light properly either. However I can see that this feature, the ability to set the oven to turn on at a specific time, might appeal to some people.
This is a solid well built cooker that does what I expect of it. The grill took me a little while to get the hang of but now that I know that pre-heating it is the key I don't have any problems although I must admit I have resorted to buying a toaster to quickly make toast when my starving teens need instant snacks!
The ovens cook well and the top is easy to clean. If I could change anything I would rearrange the burners on the top but that is just personal preference.
Considering that I had very little choice with what I bought I am quite happy with what I ended up with!
Short name: Zanussi ZKG5540WFN