Christmas must be the biggest event in the whole calendar for your Rangemaster range cooker. This time of year, is when the range cooker will be put through its paces and will shine like a bright star as it effortlessly takes on all of the culinary tasks. From the turkey and pigs in blankets to the Christmas pudding and mince pies a range cooker can smoothly cook everything simultaneously.
Here are some ideas and tips on how to get the most out of your cooker during the festive season.
Parties, cake and mince pies!
The fanned oven on any Rangemaster appliance will be on the right-hand side of the cooker. Tall or wide the fanned oven is perfect for batch baking. When using the fanned oven think volume! This oven will be the same temperature throughout so if you have 36 mince pies to make then this is the oven to use. You could also use it to line baking trays with party food such as sausage rolls, cheese straws, gyoza, battered prawns or mushrooms to pass around at your festive get together, provided they all require roughly the same cooking temperature. On a 110cm product you could borrow a shelf from the left-hand oven to enable cooking on 3 levels, provided you ensure that air can circulate easily around any trays.
Cook your Christmas cake on a low heat on the lowest shelf in the left hand oven and use the conventional setting if you have a multifunction oven. The conventional setting provides a gentle heat, as there is no fan to move the air around, but it does have an exposed element so always cook in the lower half of the oven if you don’t want things to brown too quickly or cover with foil to prevent the top of the dish burning.
Getting ahead for the big day
Here are a few ideas for getting ahead of the big day and ensuring your food is cooked to perfection!
- If you have a multifunction oven, you could use the base heat setting to cook long and slow. For example, braise some red cabbage at 120 degrees for several hours in a cast iron or stainless steel pot on the 23rd or 24th of December and then simply reheat on the large multi-ring burner on Christmas Day.
- In preparation of the main event, you could make a list of all the items you need to cook. Next, allocate each item on the list a baking tray, pot, pan or griddle so you know the size and shape of all the things you need to allocate some range cooker space too. I sometimes even go so far as to write each item I need to cook on a piece of paper, along with where I am going to cook it, and put it on the tray or pan so I don’t forget which vessel is for which dish.
- Make your cranberry sauce the day before on the hob and you could make part of the gravy the day before too and then store in the fridge ready for the turkey juices to be added.
- If you are making a vegetarian or vegan dish, then cook this the day before so you can dedicate your main oven to the turkey on the big day. If you have a multifunction oven, use the fan assisted function and the lowest shelf position to cook any vegan or vegetarian pastry centre piece. The heating element in the base of the oven helps to crisp up the pastry! This can then be reheated on the fanned setting on Christmas Day.
- Another tip to help cut down on prep on the day is to gather all the vegetables you need and set out the quantities of each one. Then on Christmas Eve have a vegetable hour, gather the family to the kitchen and hand them a peeler or a knife! A new Christmas tradition! Sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, kale, sweet potatoes, white or red potatoes, butternut squash, mushrooms and onions can all be washed, trimmed, sliced, and chopped the day before. Simply store in the fridge if you have space or if not in the coolest part of the house. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are best stored in water once cut or they will go brown.
Ideas for using the whole appliance for Christmas Day
I have broken down each aspect of the cooker to give you some ideas for how you might use each of the cooking areas and zones to cook different aspects of the Christmas dinner all at the same time:
- Steaming – use a medium or small sized cooking zone to steam the Christmas pudding.
- Griddling – pigs in blankets are perfect on the griddle and there is plenty of space to get lots of them on there.
- Boiling – par boil the roast potatoes on one of the large zones or boil sweet potatoes ready for mashing.
- Simmering – use the smallest zone to simmer the gravy or make the brandy sauce or custard.
- Frying – use a medium sized zone make a breadcrumb gremolata (fry together breadcrumbs, lemon, butter, garlic and parsley) and use it to top some tenderstem broccoli or cauliflower florets.
- Wok cooking - you could use the large multi-ring burner or large induction zone for wok cooking. Steam your sprouts, for example, the day before and then on the big day slice them up along with some bacon or pancetta lardons and throw them into the wok, with a spoon of wholegrain mustard, to crisp up on a very high heat. Another idea would be to use the wok to keep a separate dedicated area for vegan dinner guests and deep-fry to make vegetable and mushroom tempura for example or make a Christmas stir-fry with sprouts, cranberries, mushrooms, walnuts and green beans.
- Dedicated vegan/vegetarian area – cauliflower steaks, vegan sausages or seitan steaks.
- Use for breakfast items – bagels, toast or brioche.
The Multifunction oven
- Fanned setting – get trays of items that require a similar temperature all in together. For example, roasted parsnips, stuffing balls, roasted butternut squash and carrots
- Conventional – if you are up early before the turkey needs to go in then use this to cook cinnamon buns, Christmas morning bread or one tray of muffins.
- Fanned grill – use this for a Christmas breakfast (if you are early enough before the turkey needs to go in) – grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and bacon at 180 degrees.
- Defrost – only use this is the oven is cold but if you have forgotten to take the cheesecake or sponge cake out of the freezer this setting will speed up the defrosting process making it twice as fast as just leaving it out on the work surface. Great if you need something for supper!
- Fan assisted
- Roast potatoes – get the fat hot first while the turkey finishes cooking and then turn up the heat. Using the fan assisted function enables the top element to brown and crisp up the potatoes.
- Turkey – cook on the second to lowest shelf in the oven on the fan assisted setting for the best results. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.
- Top heat – for a final browning of any dish such as stuffing, a butternut squash gratin or a cauliflower with breadcrumb topping or cheese sauce. Turn the heat up to full blast from an already hot oven and keep a very close eye on the dish as it will colour up very quickly.
- The handyrack – use this if your turkey weighs 5kg or less and it will make it so easy to check on and baste the turkey. The handyrack is the little oven tray that sits inside the door of the left-hand oven (please note this feature is not on all models).
The Warming Drawer or Storage Drawer
If your range cooker has a warming drawer then turn this on first thing so it gets up to temperature and then place your serving dishes or plates inside. It will heat up to 40 degrees so it doesn’t get red hot, but it will take the chill off your plates ready for serving. If you have a storage drawer, you can still pop the plates in as while the oven is working its magic cooking the dinner the drawer will get warm so it will take the chill off your plates. If you have a 90cm product and have wondered what the giant toast rack is for then it is designed to hold your plates so you can warm them in the oven without the risk of them getting condensated by being on top of each other.
Keeping dishes hot – whilst you cannot cook using the base of the oven, as air needs to be able to circulate around the food, you could use it to get your serving dishes hot.
Checklist for Christmas Dinner
- Christmas Eve
- Vegetables allocated and prepped, cranberry sauce made, vegan centre piece made, gravy started, stuffing made
- All serving dishes, pots, pans, and baking trays have been found and food and cooker space allocated to them
- Table settings, serving spoons, crackers and table presents are all ready to go onto the table
- A list of timings for when things will go into and out of the oven/grill/hob has been made
- Christmas Day
- Breakfast and presents first!
- Oven on and turkey in
- Final preparation of any components of the meal
- Follow the timings made on Christmas eve
Finally, sit back and marvel at your amazing Rangemaster range cooker as it does all the hard work for you! Have a fabulous festive day.