Product Type: Tefal fryers
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Low fat cooking!
Tefal ActiFry Low Fat Electric Fryer
Member Name: kaitlinsmummy
Tefal ActiFry Low Fat Electric Fryer
Advantages: Cooks effectively without the over use of fat.
Disadvantages: Can get a bit bunged up with grease, especially on the arm itself.
After a peruse at my local electricals store i was pleased to find that the holy grail of fryers (in my opinion anyway!) was at that time being sold for half price (£90.00), with even an extended warranty being sold half price, which i promptly purchased!
My Mum in law had had an Actifry for a good year before i could afford one, and raved about hers constantly, not only due to how delicious the chips were that she made in it, but also the fact it could be used to make whole meals, one pot style with hardly any fat needing to be added.
I initially tried chips when i had mine, which, whilst i enjoyed the chips, my son really didn't, so took him a little longer to start eating them (which he did eventually!).
The set itself was a lot bigger and heavier than i was expecting, taking up a good portion of my limited counter space in my kitchen, and it was too heavy and too tall to fit comfortably into a cupboard, so if this was to go the same way as many of my other "must have" items, i would struggle finding somewhere to store it!
In the unit itself there is a detachable pan with a handle, this is where all the food is cooked, and is coated in a non-slip covering, so care has to be taken when removing food from the pan and also when washing it up.
In the centre of the pan is a hole where a detachable arm is fixed into, this constantly rotates around, keeping the food moving which i feel is one of the reasons it takes so little time for the food to be cooked through.
This again needs careful cleaning, as there are a few nooks and crannies that can accumulate fat into, and does!
The unit is really easy to use, with there being a multitude of food that can be cooked, fresh and frozen, with chips being the first thing i cooked, the instruction booklet explains the best way to wash, dry and cut the chips up, and gives you optimum cooking times (which can be timed using the timer on the top of the unit), though have since found cooks just as effectively without the rinsing of the startch off, and the timing, i find i can tell how close they are to be cooked by the look of them!
I have since gone on to cooking chicken pieces (though if you like crispy skin this is not the best way as the arm seems to strip the skin off), bacon, ham, pepperoni etc... and have found that they all cook much quicker, and without me having to stand over them turning them in the pan by hand!
I find that frozen chips, sausages, onion rings, potato letters etc, cook beautifully in this unit, and though it does say you don't need to add extra fat to these as they have fat in them for oven cooking, they do taste a little nicer with a little dribble of oil before cooking!
There is a full list of items that you can cook in the actifry, along with a substantial recipe book, with recipes from around the world, though I do find I use this on regular basis, I do tend to use for the same sort of food, normally potato based (chips, wedges, roast potato's etc...) or for sausages, or meat portions.
How the unit actually works is quite simple, yet very effective. There is a small element under the far side of the lid, which blows hot air out of, so when the arm turns the food constantly, the food is getting equal amounts of the hot air cooking it quickly and thoroughly, with the recommended amount of oil to be used (quantities outlined within the instruction booklet, but usually around the 5-10ml line, measuring spoon included!), not feeling as if it would be enough, but of course is!
Due to the method of cooking the unit does get extremely hot, so I tend to have to get it out of children and dogs reach, with me even burning myself a few times, forgetting that it's hot air that cooks the food and just flipping the lid open, then wondering why the unit scorches my hands!
I have already mentioned cleaning, but it is worth mentioning that although the pan and arm are removable, and can be cleaned in hot soapy water (not sure if it is dishwashable, as I am the only dish washer in my house!), the filter under the pan should be regularly cleaned as it can get bunged up, especially with any herbs or spices you may use in your cooking.
And (as with deep fat fryers), no matter how hard to try, you will always get a layer of grease on the unit and fittings, I recently had to take my original unit back to the store and was mortified that I had had the arm in soak and scrubbed on and off for a weekend, and still had to take it back with a thin layer of fat on, though the assistant wasn't fazed at all!
Any downsides, well from the previous statement you will have gathered that this is actually my second unit in 18 months, though I feel that it was a freak thing that happened (the arm snapped off the central rotor), though due to the extended warranty I took out when I purchased the unit (£22.00 for three years, new for old, no questions asked!), I was able to have a newer unit straight away, though wasn't impressed with the manager telling me repeatedly that I was lucky he had allowed me to swop, as it was at his discretion to do so, which I thoroughly enjoyed putting him straight on!
This has been a really good unit, and I have actually used this on an almost daily basis, when the arm incident happened I had to go a week without it and felt lost, so this (unlike so many of my other must have items) has actually been money well spent!
Availability is widespread, with this being purchased from Currys, though do shop around as at full price (£199!), I would really have been hard pushed to buy at that price!
Thanks for reading x
Summary: A really good fryer/cooking unit.
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