When I had the opportunity to review the Breville Halo Plus Health Fryer my first thought was, oh, sure, I like chips!
When I was a kid, my mum had one of those deep fat fryers; I remember it making loud bubbling noises in the corner of the kitchen, the stink of the chips cooking. I remember buying big bottle of oil at the supermarket when the oil in the fryer was to be changed. I’m fairly sure there was also a stain on our kitchen ceiling from the fryer too.
When the box for the Breville Halo Plus arrived my initial thought was uh-oh, that’s pretty big. I don’t have much space in my kitchen and the fryer seemed a bit big to keep in the corner of the kitchen just for the occasional portion of chips. It also looked pretty intimidating, kind of like a tiny UFO. It basically looks like a ball suspended on a base with a few buttons on the top and a weird bit sticking out of one side. I had to break all the rules, and read the manual. I put off using it for ages, because I thought it required an engineering degree to work, and several hours of clean-up. And I am not big on fuss, especially when it comes to cooking.
As it turns out, this thing might be pretty humongous, but it is also really versatile. Anything you would normally grill or fry, you can cook in this baby. You basically just chuck your food into the bowl, set the cooking time, and tell it whether you want to use just the top heat (grill) or both top and bottom (“fry”). You can also tilt the ball-like space ship thing before you start cooking. The bowl inside turns, so if you tilt the mechanism, you end up with the food being tumbled about inside.
The tilty-tumbly thing sounds a bit odd, but it’s essentially the same as stirring your food as it cooks without… you know, effort. It stops your chips from getting stuck together and means you don’t have to keep going back to the grill to turn food over.
The first thing I cooked was chips, obviously. 800g of raw chips takes 25-30 minutes to cook. You cut the potatoes and rinse them,then chuck them into the health fryer, pour a teensy bit of oil over them (it comes with a measuring spoon and instructions as to how much oil to use on each type of food), and close the lid. Then you tilt the fryer, set the timer and set it to cook. Off it goes, tumbling the chips around in that tiny amount of oil – and when the alarm goes off you have some very tasty, crunchy chips cooked to perfection. Here’s a video to explain it better:
As you can see, it is indeed poetry in motion. I enjoyed my chips so much, I felt all inspired. The next day, I cooked sweet potato chips (word to the wise: they take less time to cook but taste amazing). The day after I decided to investigate the grill situation. According to the instruction manual, anything you would cook under the grill, you can stick on the roasting rack (or straight into the inner bowl) and crack on. I had some fish cakes in the fridge, so I put them on the rack, set the timer and sat back to wait. What emerged were indeed two perfectly cooked fish cakes – though I did learn a lesson about oiling the roasting rack before using it.
Next, I tried cocktail sausages – after all, it’s Christmas and the supermarkets are full of little baby sausages that look super cute – and more importantly, S will actually eat sausages without much of a fight. When I cook sausages under the grill I always forget to turn them, or they curl up and I can’t get them to cook evenly so they’re black on one side and pink on the other. I was interested to see how they would fare in this here health fryer. I popped them in, tilted the UFO, set the timer and off it went. I could hear them sizzling in there, and was a little bothered I’d set the time for too long or something, but when the timer went off all of my doubts dispersed into a cloud of sweet sausage smell. They were the most perfect cocktail sausages I have ever eaten in my life, and S seemed to concur. My fridge (and freezer) are now filled with cocktail sausages waiting to be cooked.
The absolute best part of this fryer, for someone intrinsically lazy like me, is how easy it is to clean. The inner bowl comes out easily with the handle provided when it’s hot, and it’s the sort of non-stick that politicians dream of: nothing sticks to it. It goes into a bowl of soapy water, you give it a quick wipe, and off you go to get on with your life. No scrubbing, no fretting, no leaving it for later and conveniently forgetting about it until the next time you really need to use the sink (oh, come on. I can’t be the only one!)
I will leave you with this photo of my first ever self-cooked bowl of chips. There have been many since, but this was the first. And it is to be marvelled at, considering how lazy I usually am with cooking.
Disclosure: I was provided with a Breville Halo Plus Health Fryer free for the purposes of review. All words and opinions are my own, however.