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.
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:
Shake the basket once at the halfway mark:
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:
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:
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!