Product Type: Philips fryers
Newest Review: ... chips do require a very small amount of oil coated evenly over the cut up potatoes. Philips recommend using around a tablespoon, however I... more
Not just for Chips.
Member Name: elysia2003
Date: 07/12/11, updated on 07/12/11 (915 review reads)
Advantages: A versitile and economical appliance - looks great too. :)
Disadvantages: No viewing window (but it isn't really a problem)
I've always struggled with my weight, and as such need to utilise healthier cooking methods for both myself, and also to prevent the same problems happening to my kids. For years I've used a Tefal Actifry to cook the chips and fried foods that my family love, but without the unhealthy oils and excessive calories.
*** My purchase of the Philips Airfryer ***
After using it one day, I placed it on top of my touch sensitive cooker hob to cool, which turned on, and melted all the underneath and flex to the machine. Oops. Unsafe to use, I immediately went to buy another one (which would have been my third), and while reading reviews about the newer family sized model, I came across this Phillips Airfryer. Finding it was half price in Argos, and having great reviews, my mind was made up, and after a visit to the store, I was the proud owner of this wonderful machine.
I will try really hard to not let this review become a comparison, but as you will be aware, anyone reading this review will be reading it, with a view to purchasing either one, so there will be a need to compare at some stage.
*** Dimensions and Appearance ***
When you remove this product from its huge box after purchase you will be amazed at how small it really is. At 28.7 wide, 31.5 Height x 38.4 cm depth, this machine has a much smaller footprint than the Tefal Actifry. I much prefer this, as it takes up less counter and cupboard space, when room is at a premium size matters.
I have the glossy, sleek black version of this, but it also comes in white, with blue accents. While I agree the colour of the appliance has nothing at all with functionality, if something looks good you are more likely to keep it out on the counter, and therefore use it; it then becomes a worthy member of kitchen equipment. I love this machine and would use it even if it was an ugly duckling, its worth its weight in gold, but the fact is has sleek lines and modern styling adds to its appeal.
*** First Use ***
Removing the contents of the box you will find a packet containing a thick booklet with the operating instructions, and also a handy laminated quick start guide. These are well laid out, and easy to understand. Using the appliance is simplicity itself and pretty foolproof really. The booklet also covers cooking times of various foodstuffs. This is invaluable and takes the guesswork out of it, as cooking frozen foods in this machine takes half the time it would in a conventional oven.
*** What can you cook in it? ***
The booklet gives plenty of suggestions. I think this machine is more versatile than the Actifry because although that one can cook not only chips, wedges, chilli's, stir fries etc, the Philips Airfryer goes one step further, and can cook so much more. You can cook chops, hamburgers, potato gratin, spring rolls, and even such things as quiches, full sized cakes and muffins. These are the reasons that swayed it for me.
Although the Actifry comes with a small recipe book with suggestions, due to the action of the paddle, it would break the extra foods listed above up. The Airfryer has no paddle to stir the contents, and as such is just a smaller version of an electric fan oven. If you need to turn food during the cooking time, you need to do this manually by stirring or tossing. The hot air cooks the food, and amazingly it can even brown it. Food looks really tempting and appealing and you get none of the blandness you get when cooking in a microwave.
*** Utilising the Airfryer ***
Obviously, first you need to plug the machine in, you will find the plug at the rear of the machine, and it conveniently stows away. To do this, you simply thread the flex through the opening and it gets stored in a cavity underneath. The remove the flex, simply gently pull on the plug.
To set the temperature (according to what foodstuff you are cooking and instructions in the recipe book) you simply turn a dial at the top of the Airfryer to which one you want. The dial is set into a recess, but is quite a large size, and so anyone with dexterity problems would have not difficulties with it.
The turn the machine on, you have to twist the knob to the centre front of the machine. This is quite a large, chunky dial, and is numbered from one to thirty minutes. I would say you wouldn't need more than this, as most foods are cooked in much less time than thirty minutes anyway. Things such as chips and wedges made from fresh raw potatoes might take this long if you are cooking enough for several people at one time, but having to give the basket or shake or stir halfway through, could mean that you could set the timer for 15 minutes as a reminder, and when the bell that signals the end of the cooking time, goes off, set the timer for 15 minutes again. I really think this is a great tip, and one I use myself every time I use it.
To add the food, you pull gently on the handle, and this makes a drawer slide out. It simply slides backwards and forwards, and clicks into place nicely. The overall action is smooth, and like I said before, people with dexterity problems would have no trouble. Saying that though, the whole drawer is quite heavy, and filled up with food, could be quite cumbersome; to an able bodied person, this is not a problem.
Activating a button on the handle releases the food basket. This is square shaped and follows the contours of the drawer. This has a non stick coating, possibly Teflon, and makes it easier to clean; depending on what you are cooking, it might only need a quick wipe after use. The base of the basket is wire mesh, as one would expect from a traditional chip pan. This enables the air to flow adequately around the food, and provides even cooking. If you wish you cook two different foods at once, at handy divider is supplied, and simply slots into two grooves on either side of the basket. This is great as then I can cook one or two portions, of a whole meal at once; chips for the kids in one half, and nuggets in the other, add some beans and sweet corn warmed through in to microwave or on the hob, and you have a much healthier version than McDonalds, and cooks in less time than driving there and waiting for it too.
The only downside for me is the lack of viewing window, which you do get on the Tefal model. The only thing to do is open the drawer and have a sneaky peek. It will be fine, unless you're cooking muffins and cakes that have to rise, in which case you will have set the timer. It's not a problem and it would have ruined the design of the exterior anyway.
While in use, the machine is so quiet, it's really surprising compared to how noisy my old Actifry was. You can hardly hear the whooshing noise of the air being circulated.
After cooking, cleaning the drawer and the basket is easy to do. A quick wash in hot soapy water would suffice, but it can, and does, go into the dishwasher successfully. The dishwasher detergent hasn't dulled the glossy exterior of the drawer at all, I'm pleased to say; although after years and years it may well do; only time will tell.
Although this machine will do so much more, cooking healthy chips and potato wedges are primarily why you buy one in the first place. So what do they taste like? Having adding only half a tablespoon of oil per 500g of raw potatoes, these are less greasy, so they don't actually taste like chip shop chips and never could. My take on the flavour of these would be as a cross between an oven chip and a roasted potato. They are not greasy, yet they have a lovely crispy outside and fluffy inner. To achieve this, you are asked to prepare raw potatoes before you need them and let them soak in water for half an hour to remove the starch. You are then told to dry them, and to preheat the machine for a minute or two. The dry potatoes are then coated in the oil, placed in the warmed machine, and left to cook. They come out looking and tasting divine.
For frozen chips, they cook in half the time of raw, as they are pre-cooked in oil. In this instance you wouldn't need to add any extra oil. Frozen chips cooked in the Airfryer in this way, are so crispy and delicious, I really recommend them too.
*** Recipes ***
Just to let you know what recipes are contained in the recipe book, I will list a few of the things I have made from the book: Potato Croquettes with parmesan cheese (30 minutes preparation plus 8 minutes in the cooker), Spicy drumsticks with a barbeque marinade (5 minutes preparation, 20 minutes in the marinade, plus 20 minutes in the cooker), Roasted Mediterranean vegetables (8 minutes chopping plus 15 minutes cooking). Next on my list to try is Meatloaf, Thai fishcakes with mango salsa and Pork Satay with peanut sauce. This truly is a versatile machine. Having a look on Amazon, there are a few (non Philips or Tefal) recipe books dedicated to Air frying, I'm hoping to buy one of those in the not too distant future.
*** Economy ***
The Power this machine uses is 1425 Watts and is 230 Volts. Obviously if you are using this for quick meals, or single portions, this is really economical way of cooking, as you do not have to heat up a whole family oven. Also, with the concentrate heat source meaning that cooking times are mostly halved, you are saving electricity then too.
*** Capacity ***
I love this appliance it's so versatile, and although it holds less than the Tefal Actifry with this having a maximum of 800 g and the Actifry holding a minimum of 1kg depending on what model you choose, I feel the ability to cook several items at once, and the fact that you can cook so many more items, absolutely makes up for that.
*** My Thoughts ***
Although environmentally friendly as you are saving electricity, my main concern at the moment is saving money in the long term by not using so much electricity. This appliance does that for me, without effort on my part, and produces perfect, tasty results to boot. I know the initial cost at over £200 (on the Philips website) is extremely high, but if you can buy this machine at a price reduction so much the better. I do feel though, that even at full price, this machine will pay for itself in the long run. I hope you can tell how much I like this product by my review. Please just don't think about it, buy one.
*** Additional information ***
Non Slip Feet
Power on light
Temperature ready light
Cool touch handgrips
Automatic shut off (when timer runs out)
One metre cord length
More information (including videos) on http://www.philips.co.uk, where you can also order spare parts and get technical support.
Thank you for reading my review. I do hope it has been of some help.
This review may also be posted on other sites, under the same username.
Summary: Not just for chips!
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