So did I. What I did not realise was that it was somewhat more versatile and as well as frying chips, wedges, sausages, nuggets etc it could be used for stews, casseroles, curries, toasting nuts & seeds and even making granola?
For those not in the know the Actifry is a counter top cooker; made famous, and known by most people, for its ability to cook chips for 4 with just one tablespoon of oil. The machine is about 13″ across and 8″ high (a mini model of the classic Actifry is also available) and consists of a doughnut shaped pan and a stirring arm. Simply put the food in, close the lid, set the timer and leave to cook. The stirring arm makes two revolutions per minute fast enough to keep everything moving and preventing sticking and burning, but not so fast that the food gets broken up to into bits. The machine heats by blowing hot air under the pan, and the heating mechanism cuts out when you open the lid and makes about the same amount of noise as a microwave.
The original Actifry was launched in the UK in 2007, has stood the test of time, and with the new model, the Tefal Actifry Snacking, the design is good – two buttons – one for on/off and a timer – press and hold to set. The handle for the pan folds down nicely to the side of the machine, the pan and stirrer are both easy to fit and dishwasher proof. My only niggle is that the beeper on the timer is not that loud especially over the noise of the fan, and once the cooking time is up, the Actifry does not switch itself off (I just set a timer on my phone if I leave the kitchen).
The chips are good, think of a cross between chip shop and oven chips – at the chip shop end of the spectrum. Crispy outside, fluffy inside and golden brown with crispy bits left at the bottom of the pan. Delicious and with a fraction of the oil of deep fried ones. We’ve been eating lots, and adding carrot batons to the machine. Chips for 2 are ready in about 30 minutes (slightly longer than the recipe booklet with the machine says).
Unlike with a chip pan or deep fat fryer I feel completely safe to leave the machine cooking whilst I am in another room, and its stirring functions means I can leave a risotto to cook whilst I get on with something else.
New with the Tefal Actifry Snacking is a mesh basket which rests in the main pan, in which you can cook more delicate items such as samosas, pasty puffs, spring rolls which would get broken up by the action of the stirring arm. To use simply remove the stirring arm and slot the basket into place. Note that you cannot use the basket whilst cooking chips, which I think is a shame.
The risotto was good, soft and creamy rice. It took about 50 minutes to cook (I had to open the machine a number of times to add more liquid) and used lots more liquid than cooking in the regular way – I think it and other “liquid” based dishes would be better if you could cook them at a lower temperature or if the pot were thicker – the liquid furiously bubbles away on the odd grain of rice that hits the side of the cooking pot. A word of warning – the inside ring of the pan has a very low lip. Do not detach the stirring paddle until you have served the contents when cooking a liquid dish.
Initially skeptical, I was very impressed, especially with the ability to cook risottos, curries and stews. Whether the Tefal Actifry Snacking is for you depends on your lifestyle and family – I can see it is great for snacks, and for cooking nuggets and fish fingers for fussy toddlers, and it certainly uses less energy than turning the oven on. I can see that the excellent chip making ability would be very popular with students, but do feel that a useful feature would be the machine turning off at the end of the cooking time
If you own a Tefal Actifry you can buy the snacking basket from Tefal for a very reasonable £9.80.
Currently the Tefal Actifry Snacking is exclusively available from Ideal World TV RRP £199 (currently on offer at £139)
Fuss Free Flavours received an Actifry Snacking to review. All opinions are our own, we were under no obligation to write a positive review.