If you've been following my weekly Sunday weigh-ins, you'll know that I'm on a mission to shed the baby weight (I may remind you here that Pierre is now 5 !) and get generally healthier. I'm not looking for a quick fix though. I want the weight to come off and stay off so I'm not interested in faddy diets or starving myself. I want to make sustainable changes that can be continued long-term and involve the whole family, so when BritMums announced that they were looking for bloggers to trial the Breville Halo+ Health Fryer, I was very keen to get involved. Their opening line sold it to me ! : "No-one likes to give up their favourite foods for the sake of slimming, but with the new Halo+ Health Fryer, you needn’t have to!" Ooh sounds perfect !
The first thing that struck me is that it's a very good-looking piece of equipment. I love the funky green trim and the shape reminds me of a cross between a motorbike helmet and R2D2 ! It's just as well that it's easy-on-the-eye because it's fairly bulky so it may well end up living permanently on the worktop, if I can find a space - especially as I'm just starting to realise how versatile it is, but more about that later ! It's main selling-point is that you can use it to replace your deep fat fryer - I banished my deep-fat fryer quite some time ago so it's oven chips on the menu most of the time, which are often hard to digest and nowhere near as good as proper fried chips in taste and texture. I have tried the Actifry too but if I use frozen chips (which I do usually), I find that they come out a bit soggy and some of them get smashed to a pulp by the paddle. How would the Halo+ Health Fryer compare and would it live up to its claims of being able to create a whole kilo of crisp, browned chips with just half a tablespoon of oil?
Well, a picture paints a thousand words, as they say. I have to admit, I was slightly dubious but just look at these beauties ! I was expecting them to be a bit soggy and pale but they're perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
Have another close up look just to appreciate that beautiful golden colour and the perfectly crisped-up edges. Hard to believe they've been cooked with barely any oil, isn't it ?!
I did the kitchen towel test, putting a sheet in the bottom of the bowl before pouring out the chips and this is the tiny amount of oil that came off them (and I'm not actually sure if that is all grease or if some of it is condensation). I remember how drenched in fat the kitchen towel used to be with my deep fat fryer so I'm seriously impressed.
I'm not even going to start to try to explain the technology behind this clever piece of equipment but it involves a unique tilt function and non-stick rotating bowl along with an instant dual heat source so you can get cooking in seconds. The rest of the description goes a bit over my head, I'm afraid ! The things that made me say "ooh, that's good" are that the cooking bowl, roasting rack (which is great for allowing hidden fat to come out of processed meats like sausages and burgers) and measuring spoon can all go in the dishwasher and that it has three cooking options, dual heat with or without tilt and grill only. This means that you can use it to fry but also bake, sauté and roast a wide variety of foods. Including cakes. Yes, really !
I haven't had much time to play with it yet but I will be giving it some serious roadtesting over the coming months so I'll be sure to tell you how we get on. I've been researching what other people recommend cooking in it and have been collating recipe ideas that I want to try - so far, I have crispy bacon (it removes loads of the fat during cooking apparently), garlic bread, baked potatoes, apple crumble (?!), samosas, pizza, toasties ... the list is apparently endless. This is also great news for Sophie who cooks for herself at lunchtime but is only allowed to use the microwave, not the oven or the gas (so she usually ends up with reheated leftovers) - this will open up a whole load of new options for her.
The Breville website has even more Halo+ recipe ideas that I would never have dreamed of trying but that I definitely want to now ! - crème brûlée, sponge cake/cupcakes, scones, Swedish style meatballs in tomato sauce, Thai red curry ...
Before trying it, I thought that it was an ingenious device but basically an over-priced gadget for cooking healthy chips. (The RRP is £169.99 but you can find them for about £100 if you look around online.) Having seen how much it can do, I have to say it is actually a very versatile piece of equipment that could replace a deep-fat fryer but also a microwave. It injects some excitement into preparing meals for reluctant cooks too (even Madhouse Daddy wants to have a play with it !) and I absolutely love the fact that it vastly reduces the fat and calorie content of many usually unhealthy dishes that I would have wanted to avoid.
Let me know what you've tried cooking in it, if you've got one. I can't quite get my head around cooking cakes in it but I can't wait to have a go !
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.
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