Chip-loving MFM gives the Tefal Actifry a spin

Still clinging to New Year healthy-eating resolutions, MFM tries out a new gadget that promises healthy fries

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The chips

It’s embarrassing to admit it but oven chips are a staple in our house. Until a few months ago I was convinced these where “healthy versions” of the humble French fry – baked not fried.  Then I discovered the truth…

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Did you know oven chips are pre-fried?! You did? Oh…

And so my ideas of healthy chips went out the window and feeling mighty guilty for feeding my family bad food, chips have been frowned upon ever since. But what are you supposed to have with your fish fingers instead? (Something that ideally won’t lead to obesity and a future coronary! Sorry, chips, but you’ve got a bad rep).

Enter the Actifry.

After MFM’s dalliance with cookery at the Masterchef Live expo back in November, we’ve gained quite a reputation in the cooking gadget world. Perhaps one that exceeds our actual cooking ability. But when we were asked to give the Actifry a whirl I put my hand up, for it promised the Holy Grail – a healthy chip.

The fryer arrived. Excitedly I plugged it in and set to work chopping the spuds. Full marks for ease of use – once out of its packaging it was very self-explanatory. And it comes with a measuring spoon for oil – just one will make enough chips for six people… (or four very hungry ones!).

How it works

The Actifry fries your food in a minimal amount of oil by rotating it constantly at a high temperature. That helps the oil coat the chips and makes them nice and crunchy on the outside. You can experiment with different coatings such as chili flakes if you’re a fan of the hot chip and there’s also a recipe for super-healthy sweet potato fries (which were my personal fave).

Also included is a book of recipes suitable for the whole family, with a focus on teaching children about nutrition and helping them understand what goes into making their food, which we loved.

Best for?

Chip fans will love it. The chips are delish and you can chomp down on them knowing they’re not laden in fat. It’s great for showing the kids how chips and other fried goodies are made as you can prepare your own from scratch. But as a timesaver, you can still use it to cook up frozen oven chips.

As you’d expect, the fryer excelled at all the fried food we tried. Homemade chicken nuggets and fish fingers opened up a whole world of tasty bread-crumbed goodness and crispy noodle dishes also fair well as you can control how much oil you’re using better than in a wok-cooked stir fry.

It’s great for anyone watching their weight or cholesterol and mums with an eye on their family’s diet. And it is a great way of getting some nutritional value out of chips and into the kids (who will, of course, love the gadget and most likely the food it cooks too!). Plus, there’s no lingering frying smell. Yum!

Niggles?

Though it provides a little extra “oven” space, if you’re short of work surfaces or storage space you might struggle to find a home for it. It’s not essential kitchenware and although it looks like you can just leave it to cook your dinner for you, many of the standard recipes such as risotto and bolognaise need some extra stirring, (as explained in the recipe book).

It’s a cool gadget to have if you can afford it, and definitely recommended to chip/chicken nugget/fish finger fans as a great way of creating a much healthier (and tastier) version of the food you love. And great for fussy eaters too! But it’s not going to revolutionise your whole kitchen routine and some dishes still call out for an old-fashioned pan.

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Available at Lakeland & John Lewis, RRP £199. See Tefal for more info.

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