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Apparently, as a nation, we are “time-poor”. This makes us sad, but unfortunately we don't have enough time in the day to cry about it. Chop chop! To that end, we need a kitchen gadget that we can use for a number of meals, and quick. By God, it needs to be quick. And so we review the Hotpoint 3-in1 Contact Grill.
Part of Hotpoint's Ultimate Collection (which features other kitchen essentials in shiny metal with clever settings and features), the 3-in-1 Contact Grill, AKA CG 200 UP0 UK, is a fairly unique bit of kit as it can be used in various set ups. First of all, it looks great; the high-polish metal reflects like chrome and the whole thing has a reassuring weightiness to it. No plastic and, so it seems, no corners cut.
Fancy a panini? No worries. Just whack in your sandwich, turn on the grill, and let both plates gently press it together while cooking it, just like they do in your favourite chain coffee shop (but this panini won't require you to remortgage your home to afford it). There are five temperature settings, as well as an extremely useful timer knob as well.
But, what if you're not in the mood for a hot squashed sandwich? What if you want some steak, dammit?!? Well, unlock the clip at the Hotpoint 3-in-1 Contact Grill's hinge, and the top plate will open up all the way – 180 degrees. Now you have a large open cooking surface to use a griddle. You can pop your steak on one side, and your veggies on the other, knowing that the grease from either will never touch, as both plates drain separately.
Be it in closed or open mode, grease from the food drips into a reservoir at the back of the unit. This can easily be pulled out when you're done (remember to remove the tape that keeps it is there from the packaging – we didn't take it off and ended up yanking it too hard and spilling cheese fat all over the counter). As it is at the back, when opened up both plates slope into the centre – where the drip tray now is, so a very clean and tidy operation all together.
But that isn't all. The cooking plates on both sides can be simply removed, again by pressing in a switch. They pop off and can be reversed to reveal a flat side; perfect for frying eggs and the rest of your breakfast. The flat plates have a lip all the way around, so you don't have to worry about your scrabbled eggs running off into the drip tray, either.
The Hotpoint 3-in-1 Contact Grill heats up quick, regardless of the temperature setting, and as the plates are non-stick they can be placed in the dishwasher after use. With the drip tray and versatile design, as well as the compact overall size, this is a must-have for those of us who are indeed “time-poor”. Or, y'know, like food.
Which is everyone. Even 'time-rich' people. TAX THE TIME-RICH!