Happy Birthday To The Microwave

The oven’s  little sister the microwave turns the big 5 0 this year !

Although the first commercial available microwave oven was introduced 70 years ago, the monstrous contraption was 1.8m tall, water-cooled and used around 3 times as much power as a contemporary microwave. Fantastic for restaurants and the homes of the rich, it wasn’t for another 20 years that the first counter-top home model was released.

In a recent survey, it was found that the microwave is Australia’s most popular cooking appliance, and can be found in 95% of homes ! Out of these kitchens, they are used daily in 83% of cases. That’s a lot of microwave power being used.

Although microwaves are limited in what they’re able to do, some very clever people have found work-arounds to allow home cooks to make a huge range of meals and snacks in their microwaves – usually in much less time.

Here are just a few of the recipes that are particularly clever!


Peanut Brittle

Tip #1: Microwaves can operate slightly differently – you may need to adjust cooking times

Tip #2: Weigh out all the ingredients ahead of time


  • 200g sugar
  • 120ml light corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 110g peanuts
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Mix together the sugar and syrup in any microwave safe bowl and stir
Microwave on high for five minutes
Add the butter, vanilla and peanuts, then stir<
Microwave the mix for a further one and a half minutes
Remove the bowl and rapidly stir in the baking soda
Pour the mixture onto parchment paper on a baking tray, spread out, and let cool for an hour.
Break it apart and enjoy!


Chocolate Sponge Cake

Mug cakes, which can be made in the microwave, are a fantastic way to get a quick and easy snack!


  • 50g melted butterchoccake
  • 50g sugar
  • 43g flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Mix all of the ingredients together – it is enough for two cakes
Pour half of the mix into a greased ramekin
Cover with plastic wrap, and poke holes in it
Microwave to 50-60 seconds and enjoy!


And finally, for a lazy and comforting dinner…


Microwave Mac & Cheese


  • 35g whole grain elbow macaroni
  • 60ml water (more may be needed)
  • 35g grated cheddar
  • Splash of milk
Add macaroni and water to a large bowl and microwave for around 6 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, 2 minutes and 4 minutes. Time may be slightly different and more water may be needed.
The pasta should be cooked, with a small amount of water in the bottom.
Add the cheese and microwave a further 30-45 seconds
Stir well and add the milk, up to 2 tbsps, adding a bit at a time