As you can probably guess, the oven is pretty much the most important appliance in my kitchen. It gets used every day, often several times a day. Some days it is on nearly all day. So it is such a nightmare to be saddled with an oven that I hate with a passion you can only dream of, and which has reduced me to tears on several occasions over the past year.

The whole oven saga started just over a year ago when my old, but trusty oven, packed up just before Christmas. It had worked hard while I was testing recipes for my book but then began to make odd noises and died whilst I was in the middle of my busiest time, with several cake orders to do. It was, quite frankly, a huge disaster.

So we rushed off to an appliance warehouse to choose another one. The service, to be polite, was pretty poor and it was a stressful hour traipsing round trying to decide which oven to buy, largely based on what the price tickets said. The children were not impressed either! Eventually, with guidance from the sales assistant, I chose a Homeking oven, which was allegedly a large oven and good value. It was delivered quickly and installed for me. And then the fun began…

Not long after I had the oven the flimsy plastic clips that hold the glass in the door broke. Again, I was in the middle of an order, and the door wouldn’t shut. After trying to contact Homeking, and being given the wrong number by the appliance warehouse, they sent us some more. Installing those was fun – although I’m not quite sure that was how Dale described it at the time. Great – my oven is fixed… uh, no! Within a few weeks the clips broke again.

Luckily, I’d saved the elusive customer service number and we were told that they would replace them with metal clips and that they’d send an engineer to fit them. Great, I hear you cry! Ummm, no – he turned up, looked at the broken clips, said they needed replacing but he hadn’t actually brought any metal clips with him. Excuse me while I scream…

2 weeks later he turns up again and fits the clips. Hurrah, the glass stays in the oven door. But now the door doesn’t shut properly. He opens and shuts it several times, tells me it won’t shut (uh, yeah, I can see this) then tells me I have to raise a separate fault – he couldn’t possibly look at it now as it will probably need parts. He seems to leave swiftly as I sit and sob on the kitchen floor. I never did ask them to come out again… I just have to press down on one side of the door to make it shut properly.

I’m sorry, this is turning into a rather cathartic rant, but I’m not done yet! The oven is truly awful. I cannot rely on it to cook  or bake anything properly. Every time I bake a cake for a special occasion I feel sick with nerves wondering if it will cook the cake all the way through. The oven is a total nightmare to keep clean and something (looks like the coating of the top of the oven) flakes off and drops down onto what I’m cooking. I HATE IT!

This purchasing decision what quite possibly my worst ever – it has been a disaster from start to finish! I could not be more disappointed in the oven – something which, in my line of work, should help me out and make my job a pleasure.

If you’ve made it this far then thank you, and well done. Now to the bit where I need your help. Whilst I can’t really afford to replace an oven so soon after buying it, I cannot go on using this oven any more. I only have room for a single oven, so it needs to have a large capacity. I need recommendations and warnings of what to avoid.

What oven do you have? Does it do the job? Is it easy to clean? Does it bake well?

Pleeeeease help me sort out my kitchen disaster…