on 27 October 2013
I got the ActiFry recently primarily because I've been doing Slimming World.
'Slimming World' chips are chips sprayed in Frylight and cooked in the oven. To be honest, they're acceptable, but they're not the same - the aren't really crunchy on the outside and they're not very fluffy on the inside. I got a bit bored of chips like that, so I decided to get one of these.
Putting it together was as simple as could be - I managed to get everything open and apart without a second thought, gave it a wipe down and away we went.
On the first night I cooked a batch of chips, some bacon and some sausages. I chipped the potatoes, rinsed them and patted them dry, sprayed them with Frylight (avoiding using even the tablespoon of oil because that would be more fat than just doing them in the oven) and set the machine off.
30 minutes later (there weren't that many of them - the book states 45 minutes for 1Kg), I had a batch of hot chips. They were much more crispy, better on the inside too. I was really impressed with the results because to be honest I wasn't holding out much hope that it would be any different to cooking them in the oven.
Straight after they came out, I tried some sausages and bacon in there. I put both in at the same time (6 low-fat sausages, 6 medallions of bacon) and added no oil. I was a little worried about whether it would cook the sausages through, whether the sausages would be too heavy for the agitator, and whether the bacon would burn being put in at the same time, but 12 minutes later both of them were beautifully cooked through.
Cleanup was relatively simple, though a few little pieces of chip managed to get through to the base of the machine and had to be wiped out.
I heard about a couple of issues with the machines that made me a little indecisive about whether I'd get one - such as poor build quality, too noisy, and the agitator getting stuck, but so far none of that has been an issue for me.
There are still a couple of things that could be improved, though.
- The machine is quite loud. It's not over the top, but it's noticeably louder than a fan oven and you can still, though faintly, hear it in another room.
- As a result of the general volume of the machine, the timer is actually very quiet. Luckily it went off when I was in the kitchen, but we both commented on how quiet it was.
- The controls are at the back, which means you have to lean over the thing to do anything - and there is usually hot air coming out of it.
- Speaking of the controls, the timer is a bit dumb. There doesn't seem to be any way to reduce the timer, only increase it, so if you make a mistake you have to reset it and start again.
- The agitator is quite annoying to clean. The bottom side of the agitator picked up quite a lot of debris and, strangely, it's hollow, meaning grime got inside it into the very small crevices and was quite difficult to get out. This probably won't be a problem for people with a dishwasher, but for those of us without, bear in mind that it's probably best to clean at least this part immediately.
Overall, I think it's definitely worth getting, especially if you get it on offer like I did.
Things generally take longer (especially chips) to cook than they would in, say, the oven, but in the case of things like Sausages, you simply don't need to watch over them, so you can better use your time. You can also put most things in the same dish and walk away, depending on timings.
Finally, for those doing Slimming World or wanting to be healthier in general, it's good to note that this does still work with a spray of Frylight, so you don't need to use the oil.
on 8 October 2013
Around 18 weeks ago I started a health kick, I'd ballooned to 21St 4 which at 5' 9" is way way too much, to the point of being desperately unhealthy to be honest, it's been going well, 50lbs in 18 weeks which I'm quite pleased with. I haven't resorted to any of the barmy fad diets or going to a slimming club to pay money to have someone tell me I'm a fat knacker - I'd worked that one out all by myself, I went down a strictly calorie controlled regime and had cut out chips altogether on the basis that to keep calories under control the amount I could have wasn't worth bothering with.
A colleague suggested the Actifry and pointed out that slimming world considered them a freebie because of the lack of calories and oil, hmmm sounded interesting, so as the person was a good friend and someone who's opinion I trusted I bought one and gave it a go. To say I was pleased would be something of an understatement, I was expecting the chips to be passable at best but they are absolutely fantastic, if you take the time to dry them properly they go nice and crispy on the outside (and they brown up nicely too) and stay soft on the inside.
At this point I must point out that at the same time as buying the Actifry I also purchased a chip cutter http://tiny.cc/rq1l4w from Amazon and that helps because they're all the same thickness and cook more evenly so I'd say go for one of those at the same time - they don't cost much and do the job nicely and you get the choice of what look like (I haven't measured) 5 or 10mm thick chips.
EDIT 15th October - er sorry to mislead - DONT buy the chipper it broke both cutters within the first month and made me very angry.
Healthy chips!! a whole kilo equates to 880 calories including oil and that is more than enough for 2 or if you're feeling oinky a right old plate full - of what is basically diet food!
Easy to use, make chips. throw in, add oil, wait 35-40 minutes and that's it, you don't need any skill or cooking ability to make fabby chips
Very easy to clean, there is so little oil involved that all you really need is a quick wipe with kitchen towel, I only take the pan, rotating paddle and lid off every other time
I can still stick to a calorie controlled diet with a 2lb a week loss goal whilst hogging out on chips, it feels like there's some magic going on
Noise, it makes around as much noise as a hair dryer so not the quietest kitchen appliance ever but I can forgive that
Timer, as others have said, the timer has 2 problems, one it's nowhere near loud enough to hear from another room and to be honest sitting watching potatoes go brown over 40 minutes is not exactly my idea of spell binding entertainment but the bigger issue is that it doesn't turn off the machine, it just beeps (quietly) and does nothing else, Tefal are obviously aware of that or are reading feedback as I see that the larger 1.5kg version does stop the machine so with this being relatively new it's disappointing that it doesn't do the same.
Chips are back on the menu and I can forgive a lot of niggles for that alone, so solid five stars and a massive thumbs up recommendation from me.
Oh yeah, you also get a very basic cookbook with it that shows that apparently you can cook other stuff too but as yet I'm content to stick to chips.
An Actifry cooks more than just chips or potato based products but, if I am perfectly honest, that's the thing I cook the most in mine as it is so easy to use. There is no temperature dial to be concerned about and food is constantly turned by a paddle so there is no need to turn over partway through cooking. It is a bulky appliance although no more so than most deep fat fryers and you avoid the need to store part used oil to boot.
In terms of home cooked chips, I find Maris Piper potatoes work very well - those produce a fluffier chip. I peel the potatoes and then allow them to drain before removing as much water as possible using kitchen paper. I then pop the chips into the Actifry for about 30 seconds without any oil just to make sure they are fully dry before adding olive oil. Olive oil left over from jars of tomatoes adds a little bit of extra flavour. I open the lid after around ten to fifteen minutes cooking time has elapsed as that allows steam to escape and reduces any potential for sogginess and I then leave it alone to finish cooking. After around 35-40 minutes total cooking time the chips are ready and worth the wait.
The rotating paddle will pulverise delicate items like scampi but you don't have to use it and, as long as you remember to manually turn the pan contents, even bread crumbed items cook well.
Everything except the base can be put in the dishwasher but it is a bulky appliance and very easy to wash by hand - particularly if you maintain a regime of washing after every use (which takes only a few minutes and helps to keep everything stain free). It's a lot easier to keep clean than a deep fat fryer as the low oil use means there isn't very much of a build up to remove. The inside of the fryer needs an occasional wipe over, with particular attention paid to the area by the vents at the rear where the lid attaches to the body as I have found greasy deposits there from time to time.
I had one of the first incarnations of an Actifry and loved the freedom it gave me to cook fresh chips (and wedges) without the need to use a deep fat fryer. The design has evolved over the years with modifications made to most of the visible components making them more durable and/or easy to use; this version has a removable rim added to the pan to prevent contents working their way over the rim and an appealing black, grey (with a touch of lime) colour scheme.
I love the home cooked chips it produces although it took me a few attempts to work out the best method. But if you do succumb to the desire to cut back on preparation by cooking oven chips, it does those really well as well. You don't need to add extra oil but I find for a really crispy finish, a small amount makes all of the difference!
on 5 January 2015
Bought this item as a wedding anniversary gift for my hubby and I. I use it everyday and it is very useful and for me, it is not an item that you buy but do not use. I occasionally use it for roast potatoes and frozen chips. Works wonderfully.
I also use it alot for meat and chicken. And have attached a pic of the roasted/grilled chicken I made with roast potatoes. I also use it for lamb where I boil the meat first as I like my meat well done, and then "grill" it/ brown off the meat in the actifry with some salt and lemon juice - tastes lovely! I don't add much oil and let the lamb release it's own juices and fat instead.
Additionally instead of cleaning out the lamb fat left you can just roast some potatoes in it too for extra flavour instead.
Cleaning is very easy and I cook a whole baby chicken in it without any issues and I cook the chicken with the skin on to prevent the top layer from drying out!
Hope this helps someone out there!
on 10 November 2014
First, I didn't buy my actifry from Amazon because it was the same price on Currys and I could pick it up and have it immediately. However, wanted to review this product as it is just so good. We used it for the first time last week and were so impressed. Followed instructions and dried the chips completely. I found another reviewer who said to put the chips in the actifry with no oil for 30 seconds to dry out completely. We found this worked well. We did enough chips for 2 people and put them on for 42 minutes using olive oil. 42 minutes was slightly too long and next time we will do the same for 35 minutes. The chips were gorgeous - can't believe they tasted so lovely with only 1 tablespoon of oil! Nice and crispy and fluffy on the inside.
I loved the fact that there is no mess - no steam, no build-up of fat. You can see through the window on the lid perfectly so can keep an eye on the chips. Personally I'm not going to wash the removable parts in the dishwasher - I think that is asking for things to break down - however the lid, bowl and stirring paddle come off so easily and I will hand wash them. So easy to clean after each and every use.
Love this and 100% recommend.
on 3 January 2015
Not sure why everyone raves about this. Most people seem to buy this to cook potatoes in but you can cook other things in it. The instructions say, cut your potatoes (for instance) into even size smallish pieces. Weigh (for cooking time). Wash and dry them - do you have any idea how long that takes? Mine never came out the way I like them i.e. crispy on the outside. I searched the web and it seemed most people didn't bother washing and drying them but chucked them in so I tried that as well but there was no improvement. To be honest it's easier and quicker to put a baking parchment in the bottom of a pan, cut your potatoes put them in a bowl, pour over a spoon of oil and mix them round until they are covered and put them in the oven.
It takes up a huge amount of space in the cupboard and in the end it went on ebay.