We get cooking and healthy frying with Breville’s latest cooker in the Halo+ range. Is it worth having one? Here's what you need to know.
Ever had a deep fat fryer at home? Whilst it’s insanely unhealthy it was one of the only ways to recreate perfect fries at home like you would get at any fast food outlet or restaurant. However, they are also a nightmare to clean especially the part where you have three litres of used oil full of breadcrumbs and the various leftover from frying different types of food in it. You’ll soon find that it becomes tiresome to clean and like most kitchen gadgets will probably end up in the back of a cupboard where it will never be used again. The Breville Halo+ range doesn’t just do frying well it also grills and cooks anything else you want too.
Breville Halo+ does fries and chips with a tiny bit of oil and cooks them very well. It’s still not as perfect as deep fried chips but it deserves praise for coming very, very close considering its uses 95% less oil than a traditional deep fat fryer. Both homemade and oven chips (no oil needed when you use these) were great with an even cook, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. It really is simple and easy to use; put your chips in, add a small amount of oil and on the side are two settings, one of which has a picture of chips, twist it and the machine will tilt so that the chips can be evenly tossed whilst the inner pan rotate, you then set the timer and press dual cook mode and you can then go away and do other things whilst it's cooking with no fear of a chip pan fire. It also takes no time to clean afterwards; the inner bowl comes out (via a handy detachable handle) and is completely dishwasher proof.
However the Halo+ does more than just fry and one of the reasons why you’ll find that this is used quite frequently is the fact that it doesn’t just make chips. It has the ability to do anything you want with great results as there are two more modes to it, dual mode to act as an oven and grill mode for things like bacon, cheese on toast and other things you would traditionally fire up the grill or oven for. The difference with this compared to an oven is that the heat is there immediately so starts cooking straight away and the fan rotates the air inside so that everything is cooked evenly.
We wanted to see the versatility of the Halo+ and to further test its healthy credentials we tried fish such as Salmon fillets, whole Rainbow Trout and Sea bass and all were cooked to perfection. The Halo+ is also very good at Jacket Potatoes (which take about an hour to cook as opposed to longer in a traditional oven). We even used it to cook a curry which tasted great and it was also handy at a BBQ where we cooked chicken wings and sausages with it before finishing off on the BBQ to rave reviews from our guests. The only thing we found was not any better in the Halo than an oven were foods such as fish fingers and breaded chicken steaks.
We found that the oven has not been on since we started using it and is ideal for those who lead a hectic lifestyle too thanks to its versatility, efficiency via its halogen cooking element and easy cleaning makes things a breeze in the kitchen.
The model we tested was the large family version with a 1KG capacity (Breville VDF105) and retails for around £164.99 which you might think is quite big investment for a kitchen ‘gadget’, however if you lead a hectic life and want a quick, efficient, easy to clean all in one cooker/fryer you won’t find better for the money and if you shop around on-line you'll probably get it for less than this anyway.
There are some issues with build quality we noticed such as the lid not staying up on its own after a few days use and the grill that covers the fan does not come out (unless you’re handy with a screwdriver) meaning that it will get stained with food over time if not regularly scrubbed but apart from that it’s an impressive bit of kit that has saved us time and definitely made mealtimes more healthier too.