Hooray it’s National Chip Week this week (20th – 26th February) and as most of my friends know, I love potatoes especially chips! I’d probably be disowned from my parents if I didn’t like potatoes, considering they grow around 10 tons of lovely red skin desiree potatoes every year.
Not only I love chips, but I’ve also fallen in love with my favourite kitchen gadget that cooks chips – my Tefal Actifry.
I quite sad to say that for my birthday last year, all I wanted was a Tefal Actifry. Since reading great reviews about the crispy golden chips that were healthier than the normal oven and deep fat fried chips in Slimming World magazine/forums and sampling chips made in one, that was the one kitchen gadget I NEEDED at the time.
Before then, I was dreaming and saving up for a Kenwood Food Processor after flirting with one while browsing in John Lewis… that’s for my next birthday if I can find room in my kitchen…
I didn’t get one for my birthday however I did recieve enough birthday money from family and friends to buy one. As I was so excited in owning one, I had to go to a local shop and buy one rather than wait for Amazon to deliver it.
Ahh chips…it is amazing that you only require one tablespoon of oil to cook 1kg of chipped potatoes, and they come out nice and cripsy on the outside and fluffy on the inside (depending on the breed and age of potato). And it’s so easy to prepare – peel and chip your potatoes, throw into the Actifry, drizzle a tablespoon of oil over the chips, turn on and cook for 40 minutes. Amazing!
None of this par-boiling potatoes, draining, give a quick shake in the pan, tip into a roasting dish and spray with FryLight and cook on high heat for 45 minutes. Don’t forget the occasional shake to the roasting tin to make sure the chips come out cripsy.
Don’t get me wrong, Slimming World syn free chips are good only when you’ve done them a few times and mastered your chip cooking skills but they take a lot of time, effort and love to make them to your liking. There’s more to life than spending an hour in the kitchen making healthy chips. Same logic as making pastry.
Slimming World members – I can hear you now, flicking through your SW books, looking for the syn value of 1 tablespoon of oil. Olive oil is 6 syns per tablespoon or a Healthy Extra B choice. Now you might think it’s a lot of syns for chips but when preparing 1kg of chips, this is enough for 3 hungry people and works out 2 syns each. Or, save your HE B choice for olive oil.
Personally, I can’t save my B choice for olive oil as I need my bread or porridge fix every day, so I use my syn allowance for the chips (2 or 3 syns depending how many people I’m feeding). Also, I find using vegetable or sunflower oil makes a better chip than olive oil, and it’s cheaper as well.
You can use FryLight to cover the potatoes before placing into the Actifry and the chips turn out okay but not to my liking. But don’t let me put you off doing this – give it a go and see if you like it or not. For something in life, it’s worth using some of your syn allowance for oil and butter. As an old friend told me one – Fat is Flavour!
The type of spud – I’m still experimenting to be frank and it will take me a while to find the perfect spud to make the perfect chips using the Actifry. I have been mostly using the endless supply of potatoes I get from my parents which are Desiree (red skin) potato and not only they make really good mash but they make good chips as well, especially the older the potato as there’s less moisture in the flesh. They keep there shpae, turn cripsy and fluffy on the inside yum!
I have tried Maris Piper (typical white skin potato for chips) and baking potatoes in the Actifry and they are okay but they can loose their shape and become a ‘floppy chip’ (like the chips you find at the bottom of your chip shop wrapper that have soaked up all the vinegar and fat).
That’s the one thing I find when buying potaotes from a supermarket – they are probably imported from Cyprys or Egypt, still fairly young and full of moisture. Get your spud from a farmers market and still covered in some earth!
What oil to use – Don’t waste olive oil on making chips, it not worth it. Save it to drissle on pasta and salads. I find good old fashioned vegetable or sunflower oil make really good chips in the Actrifry. To be honest, i haven’t experimented with any othe roils like corn oil, rapeseed oil but the Actifry instruction manual does state that you can use virtually any oil to make chips.
Other vegetable chips and wedges – The Actifry is not exclusive to making chips; you can make other items such as sasuage casserole or beef curry but I haven’t bothered making these. What I have been making is various cuts of chips like:
- Fries (chips around 1cm thick) take less time to cook. I’ve got a Potato Chipper to make fries. 30mins is my max.
- Wedges (thick chunky chips) and roast potatoes need at least 45 mins.
- Roast parsnips – quarter and remove the woody stalk, cook for 35-40mins.
- Sweet potato – I’m still experimenting here as the orange flesh sweet potato has a lot more moisture than a normal potato and requires less time to cook. At the moment, I cut into wedges and cook for 30 mins. I find whte flesh sweet potato works better as it keeps it’s shape better and turns crisper. If you’re trying to look for this in the supermarket, they look very similar to orange flesh sweet potato but longer and slightly dearer. Cook for 35-45mins.
- Onion rings – I haven’t tried to cook frozen supermarket onion rings in the Actifry but my mum has (she’s joined the Actifry Club!) and claim they come out nice and crispy, only if the onion rings don’t get caught in the paddle.
Verdict – I love my Actifry and it’s the best £130 I spent (August 2011). The price has dropped since then, with a number of Christmas promotions with the likes of Curry’s and price war with Amazon, so you should be able to get one for around £80 (standard 1kg Tefal Actifry in White).
The 1kg version is fine if you’re only feeding chips for up to 3 hungry adults or enough roast potatoes for 5-6. If you have a family, I would spend a little bit extra to get the 1.5kg version to make sure evryone has enough chips on their plate.
You wouldn’t be dissapointed with owning a Actifry. What I have found is I haven’t bought frozen chips since July 2011 or been to the local chippy for a takeaway as buying potatoes and preparing them for the Actifry is a lot cheaper plus helps with watching the family’s waistline. So in marketing speak, the return on investment is pretty high!
Still not sure? F0ind a friend who owns one and invite yourself over for a chippy tea. And join the Tefal Actifry Club!