Nine foods you didn’t know you could microwave

Traditionalists may frown, but there is nothing wrong with “ping cuisine” chocolate brownies, poached eggs and even homemade dried fruit or herbs, they say.

The Good Housekeeping Institute has now produced a guide to “nine foods you didn’t know you could microwave” for its followers.

Whether you are cooking for a family of four or just for one, the GHI lists tasty treats including quick and easy brownies, plus ways to cook broccoli without boiling water and bacon rashers without the need to sizzle in oil.

Even risotto and pasta can be cooked in the handy ovens as long as they are put in microwave-friendly containers, the institute says.

Eggs can be poached, scrambled and even fried in the microwave, the guide says, and the institute also reveals ways to toast nuts or breadcrumbs and how to make dried fruit and herbs for future use.

But items you should definitely not put in a microwave, according to the GHI, are cheap plastic containers, earthenware or stoneware ceramics, containers with metal parts, foil, eggs in their shells, plates with metallic trims and travel mugs.

1. Steamed vegetables – put washed in a glass dish with a tablespoon of water, cover and cook for five minutes.

2. Toasted nuts or breadcrumbs – heat on high for a minute at a time, stirring in between, until evenly browned.

3. Spaghetti – add oil, salt and boiling water in a large bowl and cook on high for a minute. Push softened spaghetti into the water and cook for another eight minutes. Leave to stand for 10.

4. Bacon – arrange on a plate lined with paper towels and cover with another sheet of paper towel to collect the grease. Cook on high for two minutes on each side.

5. Eggs – for scrambled, beat eggs, oil and milk into a mug and cook for 45 seconds on high, stir and do for a further 30 seconds until almost set. To poach, crack an egg into a microwave-safe container with three tablespoons of water, gently pierce yolk with a fork and cook on high for 45 seconds, turn the dish and cook for a further 45 seconds. For fried, preheat a plate in the microwave, add melted butter, crack in egg in the centre, pierce yolk gently and heat for 45 seconds on high.

6. Brownies – melt the butter in the microwave then add the cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla extras and cook on high for four or five minutes.

7. Risotto – cook in stages with the rice, wine and half the stock first for 10 minutes, then add more stock and cook for three minutes, add the veg or meat and remaining stock for seven minutes. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.

8. Homemade dried fruit – cut fresh fruit in quarter inch strips or pieces and lay them on greased baking paper. Microwave on medium power for 10 minutes, turn over and microwave on low power for 15 minutes.

9. Dried herbs – arrange rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage, on a plate lined with paper towels. Cook on high for one minute or until dried. Crumble into pieces into airtight glass jar or plastic bag.

Seven things you should NOT put in a microwave, according to the GHI:

1. Cheap plastic containers

2. Earthenware or stoneware ceramics

3. Containers with metal parts

4. Foil

5. Eggs in their shells

6. Plates with metallic trims

7. Travel mugs

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