Anyone who has ever bemoaned the snail's pace cooking of a typical microwave oven and wished for a quicker way to rustle up that late-night snack might want to start saving now for Sanyo 's hybrid cooker, which speeds things up while saving the Earth at the same time.

Sanyo's Enegreen Hybrid Cooker costs ¥624,750 (£2,670) but it sounds like it's worth every penny. Although aimed at restaurants, there's no reason why home users can't take advantage of the combination microwave and induction heater (IH) to cook food in two ways simultaneously.

The IH element is much like an electric hotplate that cooks the food from the outside in, while the microwaves do the job from the inside out, thus slashing cooking times.

The marketing blurb accompanying the new oven cites the example of a hamburger -- apparently, traditional pan cooking takes 12 minutes to get it just so, whereas the Enegreen manages it in just 105 seconds, which is an 85 per cent speed bump.

Not only that, but Sanyo claims the new oven keeps flavour better sealed in than other cooking methods and its CO2 emissions are 37 per cent lower than normal induction-based cooking methods.