Category: review

Philips Airfryer

Philips Airfryer

So … a Philips Airfryer.  We don’t eat much fried food, but we thought we’d give it a go.

It’s quite a sleek, black beast, but takes up a fair bit of worktop space. The first thing we did was some sausages (from the butcher) with sweet potato wedges (as we didn’t have any spuds in). The cooking basket is quite small, so I had to do the sausages first and then keep them warm while the wedges cooked, so not terribly economical on fuel usage,

I liked the sausages – all the fat had drained out, but for that reason, Pete didn’t; he thought they were a bit dry and flavourless. The wedges were nice – done as the recipe book said, soaked for ten minutes, dried, tossed in a little olive oil and seasoning, and “fried” in about 10-12 minutes. But the machine struck us as quite noisy, and it’s a horror to clean. I’d hate to do it by hand, as there was lots of fat in the bottom, and you have to be careful how you put it in the dishwasher because it has indentations that hold water both inside and out. We found this out the hard way when it hurled water across the kitchen floor when Pete emptied the machine 🙂

Next up we did pork chops. I smeared one side with Dijon mustard and set them to cook, and they really were very nice, no spitting, very little cooking smell; and far quicker than using the grill or a frying pan. We had them with root mash veg and onion gravy (see the previous post), and they were lovely. Of course, that’s the sort of meal we very rarely eat!

Tonight I’m going to be doing some chips, to go with a fabulous piece of rump steak from our lovely T L Normans up the rerd (as we say here in Hull). I’m pretty sure the Airfryer will do those beautifully, but I’m not trusting the steak to it!

So, do I like it? Well … it’s horrid to clean, it’s noisy, its basket is a bit small. But if you were the sort of family who eat a lot of chips, or other fried food, I can see it has a place – it’s quick, and easy, and doesn’t make a mess, and of course the health benefits are attractive. We aren’t that sort of family, but if these chips come out well, you never know … 🙂

This post is in association with Argos; you can obtain a Philips Airfryer from them here.

a new washing machine


Not, perhaps, something to get excited about, but a necessary household appliance, nonetheless. As a household which contains two fairly scruffy adults, who work from home, our laundry requirements are comparatively light, but our 11 (we think) year old LG machine was starting to be a bit problematical. The finish was wearing off, and the door sensor was clearly dying; mind you, it had been clearly dying since before we moved here in Nov 2009, so probably the machine’s demise was not absolutely imminent.

Anyway, time for a replacement. We ended up with a Hotpoint WMUD942X (who thinks up these model numbers?) from Argos, selected because it has a high energy rating, and a snazzy stainless steel finish, which nicely matches our grey kitchen with stainless steel dishwasher and ovens.

Argos offered an “end to end” service – deliver, install, remove old one, with an offer of 6 months’ Ariel liquid gel, so all in all the price looked good. As it happens, just after we’d ordered it, a friend said his machine had died, so we gave him the old one; he didn’t seem to mind the manky finish, and the dodgy door sensor, and much better that than landfill.

First off, the delivery service: almost wonderful. A phone call within a couple of days of the order giving us a delivery day, a text the afternoon before giving us a four hour slot, and finally a text saying “within the next hour”. The chap was polite and efficient, but it transpired that he could not install the machine because we have an extension to the drain hose. If they’d only told me, we could have got the necessary part (which cost the princely sum of £1.25 from the local hardware shop), but he unpacked the thing, removed all the transit bolts, and took the packaging away, and all done in a cheerful and courteous manner. He also brought no Ariel liquid gel, and professed no knowledge of such an offer.

Pete cycled off for the missing piece, and then manhandled the machine into its new home and plumbed it in. We read the manual (!), and set the recommended autoclean wash going. It has amber lights! It’s quiet! It’s shiny! It’s cold fill only, which surprised us a bit, but apparently they’re pretty much all like that now, and it takes about 1hr 10m longer for our normal wash than the other one, but I understand that’s because modern machines use a lot less water. It has a 24 hour timer, and we always put our washing to come on at night, ready to hang out in the morning, so that’s fine.

We’ve done a couple more loads since, and the machine has behaved very well, and we’re pleased with it.

As for the free Ariel liquid gel? You might well ask. It’s still on the web site, so I phoned the number on my e-mail receipt and nobody knew anything about it. they then put me through to Hotpoint who didn’t know anything either, but put me on hold while they went off to check. Eventually, they returned and told me to “fill in the form on the Argos site and send it off” but I couldn’t find one, and even prodding Argos on Twitter brought no result. I found a generic claim form for Hotpoint via Google, so have filled that in. We shall see.

I’m very pleased with the machine – it seems a good choice and, as they say, ticks all our boxes. Just a couple of little gremlins in actually getting it here, but nothing at all insurmountable.

Hotpoint washing machines are available from Argos online

home made baked beans

Real Foods molasses


Real Foods very kindly sent me a jar of molasses to review. We do buy various things from them online, but haven’t bought this before, so we were very pleased to get to try it.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, to be honest, but I had a rummage round the web and found inspiration. Since I’ve been diagnosed diabetic, I’ve cut my sugar down a lot, and now find a lot of foods far too sweet. So – home made baked beans!

Into the slow cooker went 500g of dried haricot beans and plenty of water, and I left them in there for about six hours (having switched it on first, of course). The next day, I drained them – reserving the cooking liquid.

Then, in the bottom of the slow cooker, I put about 200g of bacon lardons, and put the beans on top. Then I mixed up three tablespoons of molasses, one of dark brown sugar, two teaspoons of Dijon mustard and a little salt . If you try this at home, beware – it’s incredibly sticky! Next time, I might warm it a little. I poured this over the beans, put another 50g of bacon or so on top, and enough of the reserved cooking liquor to cover, and then about another 2cms worth.

Then we switched it on, and went for a nice long walk over the Humber Bridge. I left them cooking for about six hours, then switched it off and let it stand. Next morning, they looked a bit sloppy, so I decanted them into a big cast iron pot, and left them to bubble slowly without a lid. We ate them with sausages, and they were exceeding nice, although I think they lacked … something. Possibly some herbs, or a squeeze of tomato puree. But we shall be making them again, because they were *so* much nicer than supermarket beans. And I have lots to go in the freezer!

Home made baked beans for lunch.

So thanks to Real Foods for the chance to try this. Next up, I shall using the molasses to have a bash at some Finnish bread, and I think it might work very well in gingerbread too.