Ovens and Hobs
An oven and hob will make any kitchen look complete, but you would be surprised to find many kitchens without an oven. The microwave appears to have well and truly taken over, but it may not satisfy everyone’s desires for real baked or oven-cooked dishes.
Since real ovens are quite rare, especially in condominiums, you can make your place stand out by fitting one. They are not so expensive and, with a budget of around 16,000 to 25,000 baht, the newest models can be bought. Look for one with digital controls as this will be up to date and make any kitchen look elegant. Inside the oven, a dual fan system should be employed so that food can be evenly heated.
An oven will enable you to make roast dishes that a microwave device simply couldn’t achieve. Roast chicken, turkey or beef, along with roast potatoes and all the trimmings, make for a traditional English Sunday lunch or dinner to rival the fare that can be found in pubs and bars across the city. Yet an oven can do so much more. You can bake your own fresh bread, using dough that is pre-prepared and available from most shops. Or you can even make your own dough and experiment with different kinds of breads. Cakes are another area where an oven is essential. Although microwavable cake mixes are available, there is nothing so perfect than an oven-baked cake.
Even fast foods such as pizzas take on a completely different look and feel when oven-baked. They are crispier and more evenly cooked as compared to the soggy condition you may find them in with microwaves.
Of course, you could elect to buy a combination oven and microwave oven. These look like microwaves but have a heating element in them for conventional oven baking or grilling purposes. However, combination ovens often fall short. Although you can use the heating elements, the design of the unit is usually towards the microwave aspect. This constrains the size of the overall cooking space and you may find that fans and evenly-spaced heating elements are not in place.
With hobs in mind, there are plenty to choose from. Still available are ceramic hobs that look great when new but, after some time, can discolour and look well worn. They are also slow to heat up and cool down and so are not as energy efficient as new technologies.
More recently, induction hobs have become widely available. These typically sport a black glass cooking surface, which is sleek and modern-looking. A glass surface is also easy to keep clean and so these units tend to look as they did when they were new for a long time. They heat up immediately and cool to the touch just as quickly. As such, they are cheaper to run.
Halogen cooking hobs are also available, though they are becoming rarer. They also boast a glass cooking surface, though often it is clear. The halogen lamps light up rapidly and fade also quickly. However, they are not as effective as the new induction cookers and, although the technology was a breakthrough at the time they were released, it is now relatively dated technology.
Gas hobs are very responsive. However, these are commonly outlawed in condominiums as they present a fire risk. They are also becoming banned in some housing estates, too. It is almost not necessary to use gas when induction hobs can give the same results in a cleaner and more controlled manner.
When fitting an oven and hob, some thought may be required. Look to buy induction hobs that can be inset into a work surface. Most models are standalone, but some have a rim around the edge where they can be placed into a cut out.
Two hobs would be worth fitting into a work surface side-by-side. Some models are two-ring or four-ring, but most are single-ring. Also worth doing is keeping one or two spare units so that any faulty unit can easily be replaced with a model of exactly the same size. Since various models go in and out of production fairly quickly, there is no guarantee that you will be able to buy the same model again in a few years’ time. That’s why a spare in hand will bode well.
For ovens, look to install in a cupboard under the work surface or at head height near the fridge or microwave. By using silver and black colours for the appliances, you can make a kitchen look modern and in vogue.
A kitchen with both induction hobs and a fan-assisted oven as well as a separate microwave will cover all bases and will be a welcome sight for any would-be budding chef!