I’ve wanted a Tefal Actifry for a long time, but had never got round to buying one. When the Ideal World TV Shopping Channel gave me the opportunity to try one, there was no way I could resist at all. Everyone from people going to Weight Watchers to grannies kept talking about them and they sat on the shelves of one of our local shops, just tempting me to try it.
I was sent the Tefal Actifry Express XL which states it can cook for 6 people, which I thought would fit us perfectly as a family of 6.
The Official Stats
- Cooks 1kg of chips in less than 30 minutes – up to 30% faster than the original Actifry 1kg!
- Cooks with one spoonful of oil for six portions of chips.
- Can be used for Curries, Stir Fries, Casseroles and more.
- Automatic Stirring.
- Easy Clean.
- Cooks food from frozen.
- Dishwasher safe parts.
Scottish Mum Thoughts
I’ve made a fair few things in mine now. I haven’t tried casserole or curry yet as I suspect the portion for six wouldn’t be enough for my family. I have three strapping lads, two of whom eat portions that would fear you and are still like bean poles. The man is the same. The rest of us eat regular sized portions.
I’ve found that 1kg of chips in the fryer are simply not enough for us all, but 2kg are too much. The 1.5kg mark for chips would have been perfect. Saying that, if your family all eat regular sized portions, or the kids are younger, you could feed six easily from 1kg of cooked chips. I used oil with the chopped up potatoes, but when I used frozen chips with a light sunflower oil coating, I didn’t bother adding any oil to the pan at all.
I tried and failed miserably to peel, chop, dry and cook potatoes from fresh. Not that it’s an issue, as frozen chips are cheaper to buy and cooked much more consistently for me. A definite winner that way. I’ve learned that for our crispy chips, I need to do two rounds of chips, but I find ours are ready around the fifteen to eighteen minute mark for around 1kg. I put those in the oven until the second lot are done.
Complete success, no matter what I did. Again, my machine cooked more quickly than the manual stated. I’m beginning to know my machine now and what to expect from it, but keep an eye out on your first few tries, as it doesn’t take long to go from perfectly done to very well overcooked. The sausages were not planned at all. My youngest went into the shop to buy a couple of sweeties and he came out with a pack of Richmonds.
I didn’t bother to add any oil to sausages. I figured there would be enough coming out of the meat, though I did prick each sausage a couple of times with a fork to stop them bursting.
There was a fair amount of fat left in the fryer to get rid of afterwards but much simpler than using my oven grill pan and faffing about with the rack and tin foil etc.
Chicken & Vegetables
I have to say, the jury is out on my first attempt with chicken. Not because of the chicken, but the one gripe I have about the machine, is the stirring paddle that moves the food about. It’s a little difficult to clean with some foods. I very unthoughtfully put full chicken breasts into the base of the fryer and set it to go.
These are very large chicken breasts from my local butcher, so I don’t know if those make a difference, but they were too big for the machine and I ended up having to chop them up before putting them back in.
When we’d finished eating, I tried to clean the machine, which is dead easy for the pan and the lid, but for the life of me, I couldn’t get the chicken fat off the plastic paddle. I tried scrubbing, boiling water, put it in the dishwasher, and it still had a layer on it. In the end, I took Ajax and a scourer to it which worked. Perhaps I should have added oil for the chicken….
The base of the pan is a dream to clean. I can’t help wishing the paddle was made of the same stuff, but it’s a small gripe.
I threw in some vegetables after the chicken was cooked and finished those in the Actifry as there were only four of us for supper that night. If we’d been a full compliment of six, I suspect I’d have had to transfer to my cast iron pan to finish off. The joys of having strapping lads to feed I suppose.
Great machine. Takes up more room than I expected, but it’s sturdy and robust and pretty reliable in cooking terms. Chicken nuggets will be our next try. There is room for improvement though, and I’d like a slightly larger output for my family, so I suspect the 2 in 1 Dual Layer Actifry would have been the better option for us, but I’m not complaining.
If I were only feeding a few of us, I might never see a need to use a frying pan again, but given that I don’t own a deep fat fryer at all, this is a very nice addition to my kitchen.