Top positive review
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A great machine, with a couple of design issues that could be improved in future versions
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.