My oven is my new best friend. I don't know how I did without one for all these years.
I used to be an avid baker in my teens - mostly cakes and cookies and the occasional roast - that was when I had a large gas oven at my previous place.
When I moved to my current place 7 years ago it didn't come with a built in oven. I was too busy and tired out from work to spend my precious weekends cooking, much less baking cookies and cakes. I decided that it wasn't worth sacrificing limited counter space for an implement that I wasn't going to use much.
I used to recount my "glory days" to Kisu - tempting him with mention of butter cake, brownies, roast lamb etc. But in all the years that we've known each other, I never baked him a single thing (which he never fails to remind me). It's a little ironic that my husband has never tried my baking, but "No oven, mah."
However, cooking did eventually come back to me, and I started cooking regularly again. As I searched for new recipes to try, I realised that many yummy sounding ones called for an oven. Like honey baked cod (which I'm making tonight). BBQ pork ribs. Buttermilk baked chicken. Not to mention all those baked cookies and pastries.
So after toying around with the idea for a long time. we decided to sacrifice the counter space and get an oven. Kisu wanted to get the expensive ($500+!) Delonghi but I thought no point for a countertop version - you can get a nice built in oven for less than that! Settled for an el cheapo one recommended by Simply Her magazine as "Best Deal". A Toyomi 34 litre convection oven that has some good features, like a crumb tray, rotisserie and fan to distribute heat evenly.
It's the best $150 spent -it's been churning out almost all our dinner meals since we got it - preparation can be done way in advance, cooking and cleanup is easy - the food is healthier (no added fat; I used to pan fry) and tastes great.
So far I've also made brownie cookies, chocolate chip cupcakes (pictured below) and corn muffins. I'm now like Martha Stewart's greatest fan - I've used so many recipes from her site, and they came out delicious too.
Kisu must have been quite pleased with the results cos guess what he got me for mother's day? See the next post :)