Every kitchen has a gadget drawer or box into which those impulse buys, the product of sporadic fits of ill-considered enthusiasm, used once, twice perhaps, and then consigned to history. I’m afraid that the Lekue Steam Case will join that sad and motley collection.
To completely factual about this, I did not buy it. Some kindly soul sent it to me and asked me to try it out, which I have done.
The Lekue Steam Case is made from one of those space age materials, platinum silicone, whatever that might be. It comes in cheerful, Teletubby colours, and has the floppy, rubberised texture of kelp. The makers say that it can withstand temperatures ranging from -60C to 220C, and I see no reason to doubt them, and it’s easy to use. The question is, why would you?
The pitch is that this is a bright, novel, contemporary way to steam food, thus preserving most of the nutritional goodness of the whatever is being steamed. It works equally well in a conventional oven and a microwave. The case comes with a 127 page booklet telling all about it, and giving dozens of recipes, none of which I tried. I thought I’d keep my tests simple, and see how it fared with, say, cooking asparagus, Swiss chard and a little bit of cod from Iceland (sustainable and sustaining).
I don’t have a microwave, so I had to turn on the oven to 200C as instructed, and wait for that to heat up. While that was going on, I put each ingredient, into the Steam Case with the specified amount of water, and popped it into the heated oven for what I judged to be the right time. It was a bit hit and miss, because the booklet didn’t cover asparagus, Swiss chard or cod, but never mind.
My conclusions were that the Steam Case performed perfectly adequately and it’s easy to wash, but
- It doesn’t do anything my orthodox steamer doesn’t do.
- And it does it less efficiently.
- And it’s an expensive way to cook if you have to heat up an oven to 200C every time you want to use it.
- It’s pretty inconvenient if you’ve only got one oven, and you want to cook anything else in it.
- And nothing seemed to fit inside that easily. It always took a bit of trimming, pushing and shoving before I could close the lid.
The Steam Case does come in different sizes costing between £12 and £20. Things should be easier with a larger case, and it would certainly work better with a microwave.
Basically, the Steam Case belongs to that class of I-don’t-really-have-time-to-cook cooking, which uses no-brain, supermarket –prepared, neat, ready pealed, trimmed and chopped ingredients
The Lekue Steam Case may suit you. Personally, it’s one for the useless gadget drawer.