We've had our oven at least a couple of years. It's one of those clever things with all sorts of features and tricks for every occasion, but in the same way as we almost always use the same two programmes on our equally clever washing machine, we usually just set the temperature and put whatever it is in the oven without much thought.
So I thought it was about time we took advantage of the opportunity to learn from the experts and booked us both on a "Make the most of your oven" class at Miele in Abingdon. There were just four of us in the class, working with home economists Anne Marie and Adam.
I didn't want to be thought of as the sole oven expert in the house so my hero shared the fun and we'd hardly sat down before I was busy scribbling down no end of things we were learning about our oven that we hadn't even noticed till now. Who knew that the peculiar metal contraption was actually a handle for the oven trays? Who knew the trays were specially designed to enable more efficient circulation of the air whilst in use? Well, only if we use them the right way round, of course...
We got off to a great start then, familiarising ourselves with the basic controls by baking a Victoria Sandwich each - for one of us, a first!
Had we explored using the meat probe in the door? Errrmmm....we might have tried it once, but no, no really... (Was that really our lunch?)
How about the "moisture plus" setting - excellent for baking bread? Oh dear....my hero bakes bread regularly and yet again, that feature wasn't part of the routine.
We put together strombolis and left them to prove as we watched yet another feature we can't quite believe we've not explored.
Because Anne Marie was about to demonstrate how the most incredible Yorkshire Puddings could be made using this feature, in a cold silicone "tin", placed into a cold oven set to "auto burst" moisture twice. I could hear my Mum's voice of disbelief throughout, but sure enough, some twenty minutes later the evidence was there! (Yes, roast rib of beef and Yorkshire pudding for lunch! Yes!!)
Whilst our dessert cooled (Chocolate Brownie flan (with no soggy bottom) made without blind baking, using "intensive bake", referred to jokingly as the "Mary Berry feature", Adam was demonstrating the preparation of a few canapes.
Bite sized welsh rarebits and little crab toasts were used to reassure us that we needn't be frightened of the extraordinarily hot grill (which we'd all admitted earlier in the day).
All that remained then, was to sit and sip a glass of cold English "champagne" and sample the fruits of Anne Marie and Adam's labours - they put the finishing touches to the roast beef whilst the four of us sat down and made plans for the amazing things we were going to create as a result of what we'd learned.
There were going home presents, too and someone not too far from here has the pleasure of tasting her son's very first Victoria Sponge to look forward to.
I'm placing my order for a Yorkshire pudding tray to try that trick for myself.