We recently got an Actifry (actually, that might be a brand name – it’s the Breville version). We got this mostly to make Slimming World chips, as my wife is doing Slimming World and I am roughly following along (I probably abuse my healthy extras a bit more than I would if I was doing it properly).
We ummmed and ahhhhed about getting it, as we weren’t sure if we’d get that much use out of it. I did have a quick Google for things you could cook in it that aren’t chips – there’s plenty of ideas, but the majority of them would cook fine using a regular over or hob. However, my love of random kitchen gadgets, combined with my inability to say “no” to my wife, meant that we pretty quickly had one sat on our kitchen counter (side note: it’s surprisingly big… not for small kitchens).
Soooooooo, on to some specifics…
Homemade chips (fries) – This is actually the least successful thing I’ve done in there. Don’t get me wrong, for homemade, Slimming World chips, they’re decent enough – cooked properly, fairly evenly done – but there is absolutely no mistaking them for the real thing. It’s possible I can improve them with a little experimentation, but it has not been a chip revolution.
Oven chips – I did these for the kids recently and it cooks them really evenly. Better than the oven.
Roast carrots and parnsips – This was the second thing I tried to cook in there and after the initial disappointment of the chips, this immediately justified the purchase. It makes much better roasted veg than I have ever achieved in the oven. The constant turning makes everything cook properly and when I honey roast them, it also means nothing sticking to the tray and causing a mess. 10/10.
Chickpeas – It did some pretty decent roasted chickpeas. If you look for recipes online, you’ll probably need to add 10 minutes to any timings if you like them crunchy – most suggested about 20 minutes, at which point they were cooked, but still soft.
Pitta chips – I really like pitta chips and it does them very well, so well that I overshot on the first load and made them a little crispy. My second lot were better and really easy to make.
Halloumi – This needs some experimentation. I did manage to make some pretty good fried halloumi in the end, but it needed draining part way though, as it was swimming in its own juices and not really crisping. I might try it on the little grilling rack.
Tofu – Another win here… the best tofu I’ve managed, short of deep frying it (which is decidely less healthy). Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside… armadillos!
Butternut squash chips and similar things – it doesn’t inherently do these better than the oven, but it does them evenly and without having to wait for the oven to warm up, so it’s still a win.
Overall, this is one kitchen device that I can wholeheartedly recommend. It definitely gets Nathanael’s Seal of Approval (not literally… it is, after all, Nathanael’s).