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I bought one last year- cooked four lots of food then it stopped working (the 'reset' button does nothing)Exchanged it today for another one which didn't work at all!!Returned it for a refund.A very poor purchase. But I have little hope that the next one I buy from elsewhere will be any better- regardless of how much or little I pay and who's make/ model is stamped on it, because all this sort of equipment is made in the same rubbish factory in China.
Everyone has one appliance that they just can't live without, for me it the kettle , but for my husband it is our fryer - not that he uses it much - but he would think life was not worth living without fried foods. My husband would deep fry anything. According to him, chips go with everything, rather then a pizza or lasagna with salad, you have chips on the side. I once made him a rather complicated Italian chicken dish with fresh pasta in a cream sauce and his reply was "Ok but would have been better with chips". Unfortunately my sons have taken after their father in their love of fried foods so this gets some usage in our house.
We have gone through four fryers in nearly 11 years. The one before this we splashed out on a very expensive model, and should have saved the receipt because it only lasted 6 months. We decided to replace it with a cheaper model, thinking less money wasted if it breaks. This was five years ago, so I can not remember the exact price, but full price for this now is £24.99, with it being on special for £16.99.
This is pretty basic, black and stainless steel. There is a small viewing window at the top, but I never found this much use, you can't see through it once it gets any oil over it. There is a small black grid that lifts to remove the filter. A light tells you when the fryer has reached the temperature you have it set for. The electrical cord is reasonably long, I am guessing about 22". The picture above shows Argos newest model of this which I gather will be replacing the older one which has the same name and is currently on special offer. The main difference I can see is that the older one has the dial on the far left side instead of the middle, and the handle on the newer one's lid is more raised. The sides of this get warm, but not too hot to touch. It is stable and would be difficult to knock over, but I do not think I need to warn anyone exactly how dangerous this could be if spilled. Obviously this needs to be kept well back on a counter, well supervised and away from small children.
With heavy use for 5 years, I am well pleased that this little fryer is still going strong. I'm afraid all the numbers have been scrubbed off the dial, and the basket now has a very slight tear at the top from me pressing too hard when scrubbing this clean but it still works as well as it did the first day I bought it. I am so happy with how well this has lasted, that should it need replacing at some point, I will most likely choose the exact same model again. This is an absolute champ when it comes to reliability.
I don't think any deep fat fryer can be easy to clean. The oil hardens up around the edges of the basket, and absolutely everything gets greasy. This does come apart easily though, so everything but the heating element can be scrubbed up in the sink. You could then put in a dishwasher for finishing touches, but I would advise thoroughly cleaning by hand first in case the grease damages the dishwasher. I do find that the stainless steel sides are a bit more difficult to scrub then a plastic fryer would be, and really show any smear of grease.
This holds one litre of food. Now I haven't a clue what that means in real terms as I don't buy potatoes or sausage by the litre, but this does enough chips for a family of four, which is all we need. You can also do about two good sized bits of battered fish, or a whole package of sausage easily.
This heats up very quickly, only about 5-7 minutes to reach maximum temperatures. Our main uses for this are chips and sausages, but I have also made fried chicken in it, onion rings, and fish. My husband will deep fry anything, making a whole Ulster fry except for the egg in the fryer - bacon, sausage, tatie bread, soda bread, tomatoes. mushrooms, the works. I have found everything to cook very nicely in this and especially it makes lovely chips ( I think deep fried soda bread is a bit disgusting). I have found if a fryer does not heat to a high enough temperature more oil sinks into the food , making it soggy and greasy, but this has never happened with this fryer.
I did notice the little filter quickly was saturated and useless, but my husband prefers the food cooked with the lid off, saying that is how a chippy makes it. I have to admit this does improve texture, but also leaves a greasy residue over the kitchen which I am forever scrubbing. I've also noticed that the smell clings in my hair, and quite often I smell a bit like a chippy or a good fry up. Oh well, I have read that smell plays a more important part in falling in love then we think. Perhaps the secret to our relatively long and happy marriage is that I smell of Ulster Fries! Who knows, maybe I could even distill the scent and sell it as the way to Ulsterman's heart!