The Philips Air Fryer (aka Veganopoulous the sucker)

So one day, I was channel surfing (I rarely watch tv so this was a rare moment) and Arthur walked in to the room just as a home shopping infomercial came on  for the Nicer Dicer.  And I said to Arthur now come and be seated and let me show you how advertising tries to brainwash us in to buying crap.  Twenty minutes later Arthur says “I think this would be a really good gift for you Mummo” and in a monotone I replied yessssssss.  But then I snapped out of it cos I googled reviews and people were saying how you end up with shaved bits of plastic in your salad.  Phew, they almost had me.

A few months ago, Husband had sent me some links for an air fryer.  I looked at them briefly and said pfffft what a waste of money.  And the air fryer was passed off as a thing of nonsense.

phillipsairfryer

Welllll.  Like the evil little engine that could brainwash, the air fryer came back to try its luck.  In another rare tv moment, as I was home alone and was about to watch a DVD, the home shopping network was on and the feature product was the Philips Air Fryer, reduced in price with a special deal on a second baking tray.  I had no idea what it meant but I decided to see just how gimmicky this baby Dalek was.

Yes, Veganopoulous was sucked in.  Initially, I looked at it and thought how on earth would that size tray feed a family of four to six?  A quick google of reviews showed gush after gush of people cooking [non-vegan-food] with baby potatoes in the same basket, all to feed a family of six.  Impressive.  Then of course, the discussion of cooking chips.  I looove hot chips but to get mine all soft on the inside crispy on the outside required a ton of oil in the oven tray and I really do not like cooking that way.  I tried the oil sprays but the potatoes (in chip form or slices or wedges) turned out urgh.

I also realised that if I was to feed a healthy, balanced meal to my family, then the portion sizes provided by the air fryer tray or basket would be more than enough.  Portion size has always been my downfall!

It’s been two weeks since I saw that program, and one week since the Philips Air Fryer arrived.  Like just about every other air fryer owner in the galaxy, I tried potato chips first.  This involved slicing my potatoes in to strips and soaking for at least half an hour.  Then pat dry, toss with a teaspoon of oil and some salt (I made them plain) and stick them in the air fryer for twenty minutes at 180C:

chips1

 Shake the basket once at the halfway mark:

chips2

I have to say, the chips were pretty good and Arthur, who insists he doesn’t like my home made chips, thought these were fab:

chips3

My second experiment with chips also involved some sweet potato.  As I was only cooking for myself, I used a few tiny drops of oil, a pinch of curry powder and some salt.  Again, pretty good.  Not crunchy-crispy but I’ll stuff myself on them:

chipsb

I will definitely use the air fryer to make chips and other potato goodies where I have previously had to use a lot of oil.  I’ll get Arthur to sample some sweet potato fries again as he didn’t like the oven baked ones I  made.  I have a recipe for stuffed mushrooms which looks good because mushrooms are another thing I have to use a bit too much oil on.

The Philips Air Fryer comes with a recipe book but it’s not very useful to a vegan, apart from the chips recipes and a stuffed mushroom recipe (the stuffing isn’t anything special).  There’s a ratatouille which looks good too.

This isn’t a cheap appliance, but neither was my dehydrator or blender and I bought those for health reasons and with my blender especially, it gets used all the time.  And I wanted to cut my use of oil waaaay down.  Cooking roast potatoes always had me feeling a bit ewww about all the oil.

So far I’m noticing a big lack of vegan recipes for air fryers but that’s cool as I’m sure we’ll eventually see more.  I’m hoping a lot of the recipes I would make on the stove can somehow be used in the fryer.  I would love to have a vegetable pakora or onion bhaji that isn’t deep fried but those batters tend to be quite wet and I’d probably have to line the basket so the batter doesn’t drip through.  I’m also looking forward to doing something with eggplant.  I love eggplant but again, so much oil is used!  I’ve been wanting to make my vegan moussaka again but the thought of frying the potato and eggplant has put me off.

I’ll be sure to blog about my success and failures using the Philips Air Fryer!

My favourite kitchen appliances and gadgety things

A lot of my day is spent in the kitchen either preparing food or cleaning up.  This is why I love appliances because when something makes my life that little bit easier, I jump on it.  See, I have a really small kitchen.  Two adults can not stand side by side at the sink. The floor space is teeny and my bench (counter) for cutting up food is about 155cm x 35cm deep (that’s about 62″ x  14″).  I might do a separate post on my kitchen some day. Anyway, I prefer recipes or meals that don’t involve me being in the kitchen for too long because the kids always need me for something and when we’re all crowded in the kitchen it can actually be dangerous, given the confined space.  We’re planning on renovating the kitchen this year, yay.

Okay, so I like to make meals and preparation as quick and simple as possible or to at least minimise the need for me to spend ages chopping or standing at the stove.  So here are my favourite items.  The photos below are not mine but clicking on them will take you to the page I found them on.

Okay, we have:

Rice cooker

I love that I can just chuck my rice and water in an appliance and it does all the work.  I always sucked at cooking rice on the stove.  I keep reading about cooking quinoa and other stuff in the rice cooker but I’m yet to try it.

Pressure cooker

I used this a lot before I became vegan and since then I’ve used it for cooking beans and chickpeas.  Good for when I don’t have much time to cook those things the usual way on the stove.

Food processor

If this kicked the bucket tomorrow I would immediately go out and get a new one.  Essential in my kitchen!

Mandolin slicer

Love this when I have to slice up lots of apple, potato, etc.

Blendtec blender

blendtec

Easily my favourite purchase ever.  When I bought this I was telling myself “it’s an investment in your health, your children’s health, do it do it”.  So I did it.  I felt sick after placing the order because it cost so much (and mine was on special).  Then it arrived, I made a smoothie with spinach and was all ZOMG THERE ARE NO BITTY BITS.  See, I’d had a few cheaper blenders before then in those well known appliance names and they all crapped it after a year or so.  Plus I was never happy with how they blended, some left telltale chunks and I was never confident with putting ice in there as I’m sure it ruined my first blender.  Anyway, I use the Blendtec at least once a day (more like twice) and some days as much as five times.  I make juices with the whole fruit (peeled/cored/etc where necessary) so you’re drinking pulp and all.  Cashew cream, nut milk, frozen fruit soft serve, purees, grinding grain, chopping.  I loooooove this.  Love love love it.  Most of all I love that I can put all sorts of veggies in smoothies and the kids can’t tell because everything gets thoroughly blended.

Excalibur 5-tray dehydrator with timer

5-tray-excalibur

Another great purchase but one I should use more often.  My favourite thing to make in the dehydrator are kale chips and buckwheat crispies.  Or apple and date puree mixed with buckwheat then dehydrated so it’s in crispy little chunks and eaten with a nut milk for breakfast.  I’ve also made fruit leathers and dried fruit as well as crackers.  Handy for eating raw but not absolutely necessary.

Tofu Xpress

TofuXpress

I delayed purchasing a Tofu Xpress for ages because the shipping to Australia is so expensive.  Initially when I began to press tofu, I did the wrapping in towels heavy objects thing.  But it really began to tick me off because it took up space in that teeny kitchen.  So I invested in this press which is so nice and small and am glad I did because I can throw it all in the fridge.

Vegetable spiraliser

I use this for zucchini and carrot noodles. You can make thin angel hair style or thicker ribbons.

spiraliser

old Sunbeam Mixmaster

 I don’t do a lot of baking, certainly not enough to justify buying a stand mixer but I inherited this from my grandma.  Brilliant for those occasions when I do need to mix something up and let the machine do it’s thing while I do something else.  I have a small electric hand mixer too which is handy for smaller jobs.  I’m too lazy to take a photo of it right now but it’s one of those old vintagey white ones with the small and large bowls.  Love it to bits.

Other appliances I own but don’t use all that often are a slow cooker with two sections, milkshake maker (from pre-vegan days), hot chocolate maker (ditto), old juicer (getting rid of this as I can make juices in the Blendtec), microwave steamer for vegetables and rice, mini chopper.

So that’s it!  If I had to choose just one thing I could take with me (or even if I couldn’t) if the house was on fire, it’s the Blendtec hands down.