Monday 24 November 2014

Healthier frying with my Breville Halo+ Health Fryer

For the last couple of years now I've heard friends talking about the new breed of low-fat fryers and how amazing they are. Whilst I love a good portion of chips as much as the next person I just closed off really and didn't listen too much as who need another large kitchen appliance that just does one job?

Well it was only when I was visiting my friend Carey that I spotted her Breville Halo+ health fryer and asked her if it was any good, that I discovered just how versatile it is. This appliance that I thought would just deep fat fry actually does all sorts - bake muffins, grill salmon to perfection, cook a curry and even make me the most divine Creme Brulee. To say I was surprised is an understatement!

It was then even more of a surprise to find BritMums putting a call out to see if any of their bloggers would like to trial and review a Breville Halo+ health fryer. Of course I applied for that opportunity and fortunately for me and my family, I was successful.

My fryer arrived with me just over a week ago and I haven't cooked as much in it yet as I would like as I already had my menu planned and bought for before I even knew the fryer was on its way to me. Over the next few months I intend to really put this appliance though its paces and see if it is a good as my friend Carey says.

Of course the first thing I set out to cook was chips. It is a classic and in honestly the main reason I wanted one of these.  I never use the traditional deep fry method so if we have chips at home they tend to be oven chips and they are OK but not the same level of deliciousness as those that come from the chippie or my Mum's homemade ones.

I'll be honest frying your own chips is more time consuming and effort than getting a bag of ready made ones out of the freezer but the chips done in the Halo+ do taste at least ten times better than oven ones! Not quite as good as chip shop deep fried chips but then you have to make some allowance for the fact these have 95% less fat, that is a massive difference and a very important one when you are considering weight and a healthy heart.

You can see in the picture grid below how I did with my first batch of chips. As a family of 5 with big appetites we don't go in for small portions so I went for the full 1.25kg of raw potatoes, which is the capacity of this Halo+ health fryer.

I cut the chips to 1 -2cm slices, patted them dry to remove excess moisture, laid them in the pan, poured over the tiny spoon of oil, put down the lid, set the time and pressed dual cooking mode (so simple!). After the 35 minutes as suggested by the instructions the chips were not done enough to my liking so I went for another 10 minutes and then they were great. The non-stick bowl that rotates and the tilt function on the fryer means that the chips cook evenly and without sticking. They were super chips but at 45 minutes to cook and a good 10-15 to prepare they are not a quick dinner.

OK, so you can see my finished dinner and it was not the most healthy dinner in the world but every do often you have to have a treat, don't you? And, just think by using the Halo+ fryer for the chips I cut the calories in that meal radically and lunch had been a whole ton of veggies, so it all comes out in the wash.

Healthier Cooking
That is one of the really great things about the Halo+, I can still eat the meals I want to eat but because of the cooking method the result will be far more healthy than if I had traditionally cooked it and as I am embarking on a month of healthy eating, exercise and family fun in December this is the perfect appliance to have available to me.

One of my favourite simple meals is steamed veg with grilled salmon and lemon juice over it, it is perfect that I have been able to use my (too small) oven to cook for my family as they do not eat fish and then use my Halo+ to cook my salmon fillet to have with the same veg the family are having with their meat and potatoes (very traditional British family here!).

The only other thing I have used my Halo+ fryer for so far was to cook some frozen burgers for when the kids had some friends come round for tea. I was interested to see how the Halo+ coped with frozen food and it appears to do a fine job. This time I used it on grill mode rather than dual cooking and it was great to see all the fat come out the burgers and run to the bottom, this meant the meat I was serving was healthier and I was able to pour off the fat for it to solidify and be disposed of.

Recipe ideas
There are some excellent recipe ideas on the Breville website so you don't have to feel alone and like you have no idea what to cook, just head over there and make something delicious. I'll share a few that look simple and are on my hit list and don't forget how wise it is to do batch cooking -

Vegetable Chilli
Hunters style stew
Swedish style meatballs in tomato sauce

Cleaning the Halo+
You get a snap on very robust handle for moving the inside dish and this is good as it gets extremely hot, it is easy to use and I just pop it in the dishwasher. Generally I found cleaning the product really easy.  The grill rack and inside dish can be put in the dishwasher and come up well and the outside can be wiped with a damp cloth. The plastic hood also comes off for washing. The hardest part was the metal grill at the front of the grill fan, this does not remove and after cooking the chips the photo below shows how it came up looking after a wipe and then a scrub with wire wool. So it looks as though that top part will look stained, as I'd be loath to put cleaning product up there as the grill is behind it but as it is inside I'm not too worried.

In general I think the Halo+ looks like a little alien and it makes me smile each time I see it, it is rather bright and garish and luckily my kitchen is green. If it wasn't I might not like the bright colour so much. The Breville Halo+ Health Fryer has an RRP of £169.99 which is my opinion is pretty steep. From shopping around I see you can buy it as low as £99.99 at Argos but it is still a big investment and I think you would really need to want to cook deep fried items like chips and battered fish as otherwise you could just invest in a very good slow cooker to do many of the other jobs.

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