The Moulinex Minuto Snack Fryer AF100315
Availability - Readily available from a variety of electrical stockists, such as Argos, John Lewis, Comet and Lakeland Plastics.
Price - I paid £22 for this from Lakeland Plastics and have now had it for three years. I have used it quite a bit in that time and have had no problems with it. Considering what I paid for it I think this is great value for money.
Size - This is an extremely compact fryer(20cm x 20cm x 20cm) and would only be suitable for either occasional use or why I bought it, to regularly fry small amounts. ( Although it is small it still takes just under two standard bottles of cooking oil (500ml).)
Setting it Up/ Users Mannual - It all came neatly packed in a box you would expect to find a toaster in, not very large.
It came with minimum packaging, most of which you could recycle, and a small user's manual.
Setting it up was extremely easy as on the first two pages of the manual which fold out from A5 to A4 size, there is simple easy-to-follow black and white line diagrams. These show you exactly what each component should look like and how they should all fit together.
The rest of the mannual was just as easy to follow with vivid and clear instructions written in a good size.
Preparation - Before using for the first time, remove the lid and wash all the other components in hot water and detergent. Rinse and dry everything thoroughly then attach the handle to the basket.
Again there is diagrams to help you follow this procedure.
Filling with oil - Simply fill to the max level, which is approximately one litre. It is recommende to use vegetable oil, but you can also use sunflower oil or solid vegetable fat but this will need changed more often than vegetable oil. (Approximately after every 5 uses)
I think that it depends what you are frying as to how often the oil needs changed. If you are frying very small portions such as I do you can use the same oil for much longer.
Also if the item is quite solid that you are cooking, and lots of little pieces don't fall off, again the oil will last much longer.
Preheating the Oil - Put the lid on the fryer, and keep on whilst the oil is warming. Turn the dial to select your temperature. The indicator light will turn red, the light will go out when the oil is up to temperature.
I found that the oil heated up quite quickly even when using higher settings.
Loading & lowering the basket and cooking - I find it is easier to load the basket before you place it in the fryer.
Never fill it completely, about 3/4 full is fine. Then lower the basket into the oil but be careful as the oil can sometimes splash. I find if you lower the basket more slowly this can help a bit.
Also when checking your food during cooking time the oil can again splash.
During the cooking time it is normal for the ready light to flash on and off.
Included in the user's manual is also a list of aproximate cooking times for a variety of foods. It gives you times for fresh and frozen produce.
The times are only a rough guide and you may need to cook for longer or shorter, so keep an eye on your food and make sure all meat is cooked right through.
However I have found the guide to prove useful as it covers a wide variety of products. I have stuck mine onto the inside of one of my kitchen cupboard doors for quick and easy reference.
When the food is ready, remove the lid and place the basket onto the hanging clip allowing the oil to drain into the fryer. The food is ready to serve.
Switching off and Cleaning - When finished lower the thermostat dial to its lowest setting and un-plug. Allow to sit for at least two hours before emtying. This is important as the oil can seem cold, but is not cool through-out.
When throwing out oil, do not pour down the sink. Pour it back into the bottles it came in and throw out.
I find the cleaning relatively simple, but I find I need to clean mine quite a bit.
To clean, simply wash all the components, bar the lid, in hot soapy water, then rinse and dry carefully.
You can then store it in parts or store in as a whole. I actually leave mine clean and sitting on display in my kitchen, as the product is very compact and looks very good. Also it matches with my stainless steel toaster, kettle, fridge etc.!
Recomendations - If you want a small fryer for minimal use then this is the one for you.
If you want to cook large family portions then pass this one by. This fryer would be great for a single person, a child-less couple or why I bought it for occasional use and to fry small portions.
The Moulinex Minuto is a small (1-2 person sized) deep fryer which looked absolutely lovely on the shelf. However, this was an impulse purchase that I quickly came to regret....
The fryer has a small 7.5" cubed (19cm x 19cm x 19cm) square, stainless steel body with a black plastic lid and trim and all the components (handle, basket and detachable power cable) can be found neatly packed inside the fryer cavity when opening the box. The oil capacity is just 1 litre and the basket can hold up to 400g (just under 1lb) of potato or other food in one frying session.
I thought this would be an ideal 'treat' purchase as I live alone, but occasionally crave 'real chips' , or samosas and other Indian snacks that I used to eat more regularly when living with my family. At £24.99 it compared favourably with others on the market.
Unfortunately, most of the features that appealed to me in the shop turned out to be less useful once I started using the fryer at home...
Setting up the fryer is relatively easy. The power cable plugs into the back of the fryer (in much the same way as a power cable would plug into a portable CD player or printer). The handle slots into special wire loops on the basket and the lid, which is completely detachable, just sits on top of the fryer.
Instructions for use are similarly easy - Just fill the non-stick inner pan with the prescribed amount of oil. Turn the knob to the desired heat setting for whatever you are cooking and you're off!
Unfortunately, once I had fitted the fryer together, the whole machine still felt very lightweight and insubstantial, given that its purpose was to sit on my worktop bubbbling away with hot oil.
On the first usage I discovered a few more things that bothered me:
Firstly, I realised quickly that despite having followed the instructions as carefully as I could, I had made a mistake and the handle was not properly secure as I lifted chips in and out of the hot oil - hmmm... this was never a problem with my mother's fryer at home, with its integral, fitted, fold down handle!
Secondly, the small glass viewing pane in the lid steamed up almost immediately that I lowered the basket into the oil and replaced the lid - so not much was available to view!
Thirdly, I just couldn't feel comfortable with the completely removable lid. All of the fryers I had used previously had a hinged lid and I didn't realise how useful they were until I tried the Minuto..... it felt VERY uncomfortable and a little scary to have to use a pot holder and both hands to remove the lid, with the chips bubbling away like fury beneath me.
So, overall a poor first outing!
The second time with the Minuto completely shattered my confidence.
Firstly, when topping up the oil, I noticed that once in use, it is very, very difficult to see the max/min fill lines which are inside the pan and I felt as though I was guessing with something where precision was important for safety reasons!
More dangerous than this though, after lowering the basket of chips into the hot oil, I heard a popping sound, a crack appeared in the viewing screen and steam started pouring through the crack - eeek!
After isolating the power supply, I waited for the oil to cool and then packed the fryer back up to return to the store.
MAYBE I had a freak, faulty model, but with so much else that made me feel uncomfortable, I didn't want to try another out.
Luckily I had made my purchase at Lakeland and so received a quibble-free refund.
Serves me right for being tempted by the thought of chips I suppose.... I'll stick to salad for now!
840W, 400G Food capacity with 1.2L Oil capacity vie wing window removable lid.