3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent - if you have space!,
This review is from: Tefal ActiFry Low Fat Fryer, 1 kg - White (Kitchen & Home)
I live in a country suburb in Australia with a septic tank, so have to be very careful with disposal of fat. Solid fat is no problem, but cooking oils will eventually find their way into groundwater. So I bought the Actifry as a way of using much less oil. I was fortunate enough to come across a deal knocking 50 quid off.
It's great for cooking anything that you would normally do in the frying pan, deep frier, or a very hot oven, but not for things with a fragile coating, or a long cooking time at lowish temperatures. Even cooking is ensured by a mechanical "paddle" that slowly turns food over, but it would wreck a coating that needs to stay intact. An oil-based coating like a marinade is fine. Cleaning is a doddle, so easy with just a damp J-cloth and a paper towel that there is no point risking damage by putting it in the dishwasher.
So, how does it perform? Chips, wedges, any vegetables in fact, cook very well. It takes 30 minutes to cook half a kilo of chips, using only half a spoon of oil, and they're better than any alternative other than a chip pan. The great advantage of doing your own from scratch (as opposed to oven chips) is that you can choose the best variety of fresh potatoes and the best flavour of oil. You could cook things like steaks in it, but there's no point if you have a barbie or a griddle pan. Prawns, and similar small things, would be good since they're such a pain to turn any other way. If you want a much better cookbook than the one in the box, Tefal have a 60-page one on their website that you can download. This opens up lots of extra possibilities for the Actifry - like you don't need to use fat - honey and lemon juice give a nice caramelised coating to fruit, for example.
If you want to save fat or oil - for health or environmental reasons, or just to avoid eating it - there is no better way of getting the flavour of fat-cooked food than this. The Actifry also has a very effective filter that does a great job of preventing that fat smell in the kitchen. The reasons I didn't give it 5 stars are that it is big (but stores well in one of those inefficient corner units), it doesn't have a proper timer that switches off at the end of cooking, and the internal fan makes quite a noise - as much as a fairly vigorous extractor. Still, it does what I wanted it to - it's a joy to find only the slightest hint of oil in the pan after cooking chips!