Halogen Ovens and and introducing Dehydrators

Tips

Tips for using the Halogen Oven

I don’t want this to sound like a lecture, but if you have a few of these major points in your head, you can easily avoid any danger from bacteria. Under certain conditions they can multiply rapidly and become a hazard.  Take a few tips from the professionals and look after your family or party guests….

Foods most easily affected are meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, dairy products, cut melon, raw seed sprouts, garlic-in-oil mixtures, cooked rice and potatoes. So given that Halogen ovens are perfect for cooking and reheating leftovers, we do need to know the limits of temperature and time to make sure we are safe.

Hot Food

When your hot food is ready, it should have an internal temperature above 140 F ,  if you  don’t serve it immediately and use a food warmer, be careful to choose one which keeps food above that magic 140 degrees or use an oven set between 200 and 250 deg F.  Professionals in a commercial kitchen will use an internal meat thermometer to check this several times over a  time period.MeatHeat_370

ELBONTEK Digital Meat Probe ThermometerB_450

 

Anything not used and that may be tomorrows ‘left overs’ should be refridgerated as soon as possible and kept below 40 deg F.  Anything left out unrefridgerated more than 2 hours should be discarded,  it just isn’t worth the risk. Remember that in a hot climate the bacterial processes work faster so reduce this time to just one hour if room temp is approaching 90 deg F

To avoid waste when serving large numbers of people over a longer period, pre prepare smaller serving dishes, that way, each new dish will be piping hot, from the cooker and no risk of the temperature falling below the minimum.  If you are using the meat juices to add to sauces or gravy make sure the liquid boils for a few minutes

Reheating Leftovers

As there is more risk of bacterial multiplication with leftovers the temperature used when reheating should be higher, 165 degF is recommended for all the foods on the list above, especially Chicken. Reheat thoroughly, stirring frequently to even out the heat distribution. Here the Halogen oven does a really good job as the hot air circulation ensures even temperatures all around the cooking area.  If you have guests who are taking “doggie bags” of leftovers, remind them to refridgerate asap.

Cold Food & Buffets

If your cold meats, seafood etc is going to be out on the buffet table longer than 2 hours, be sure to pack the serving plates on ice

Cook from Frozen

One area where the Halogen oven scores over other methods ( link to my article ) . You can cook straight from frozen with the Halogen oven, if you are using a microwave to thaw out food, you must fully cook it as soon as possible after thawing, any delay at this point will increase the number of bacteria hugely.

Preparation

Always use separate chopping boards and knives for raw meat and for vegetables / fruit, similarly ensure when storing raw produce in the fridge, that it is not put above cooked produce and able to spill or drip onto it.

Wash Everything!

The simplest and most effective preventative measure is Wash everything, hands, utensils, knives, etc frequently, don’t for example use a dish previously used for course one, for a later course, which may be hours difference, without washing it in HOT water and detergent.

 

If you are new to cooking or unsure about your oven temperatures either conventional or Halogen , the new Digital Thermometers are very accurate and a good way to make sure you are safe.

Digital Thermometer For Internal Food Temp Readings  This semi professional digital unit has a fully metal screened and heat resistant probe for readings inside the oven and inside meat and poultry joints. Very accurate and repeatable readings, this model is calibrated in the same way as your local food and kitchen council inspectors  equipment

 

 

 

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In many Halogen ovens, a broken lamp means end of business! Not so with the thoughfully designed Andrew James range. Even a complete duffer like me is able to master this very simple procedure.

Simple Replacement for an Andrew James Digital 12Litre Oven

First take out the three screws holding the lamp cover and place it to one side. The lamp is held in place

AJBulbReplace

With 3 clips ( indicated by the white arrows ), which are easily opened up, the old lamp can then be gently prised out. To release the electrical connector just take out the screw indicated with the RED arrow, squeeze the lock to open the connector.

Hal lamp_450
Fitting the replacement is just following the above instructions in reverse.
Easy !

Buying a Replacement Heater Element

The lamp can be found , specifically for the Andrew James 12L Halogen Oven  in the AndrewJamesWorldwide website, Amazon and even Ebay. Be sure to buy the correct one for your model
Hal lamp_150

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To Buy from Andrew James Worldwide website

A Tricky procedure with most other Halogen Ovens

With the majority of Halogen Ovens on the market, the process is still possible, but is not so easy as this video shows with one of the Cookshop ovens. Removal of the Fan and the heater assembly is necessary just to get to the heater electrical connections deep in the body of the unit. Then you  would have to make a good electrical connection to your new element, which means shortening the cables and then insulating them properly. All of which is a longish task, even for an experienced repair man.

 

1 New products with new features

Halogen ovens have been around for a long time now and if you opt for the old models you will be missing out for things have moved on. The technology has been refined, new halogen tubes are very efficient, using even less electricity. The newer halogen rings are much tougher than early ones. The designs of the lids has improved in several ways, to give less spattering into the element, to give longer fan life, quieter fan use and better hot air circulation. So have a good read through the reviews on my little website and make an informed choice.

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2 Halogens will save you money.

In the past year electricity and gas prices have soared, with some bills expected to be 10% higher than last year. If you are like most of us, in most European countries today , with austerity budgeting, no wage rises for the longest period in modern history, food prices also rising faster than ever before, plus household bills like petrol and mortgage or rent at an all time high, the  halogen is a breath of fresh air! It cooks faster than any other method, it cooks from frozen many meals that usually require a defrosting  period. It cooks meat and chicken to perfection. It hardly ever needs preheating like a gas oven and it is just the right size for family meals, so you’re not heating a huge oven to cook 4 fish fingers for supper!  It doesn’t heat up the kitchen either, wasting your expensive electricity.

3 Hinged Lid is safest type if you are not 100% able bodied.

 

OpenLid

The simple addition of a fixed hinge lid to the standard Halogen Cooker has meant it is now suitable for those of us who don’t have much strength or can’t hold heavy things for long or cannot grip very well.  We take it for granted that we easily move around the kitchen and lift objects quickly. For those that don’t, this is a life saver. The lid contains the heater element and should not be handled roughly – the hinged type lid solves that problem. The lid is also very hot so you really need to be sure you are able to lift it quickly and securely to one side, plus it is plugged into the wall making it doubly difficult if you are a little immobile. The hinged lid design solves this problem too, just open it up and it stays there safely out of the way while you attend to the contents of the oven.

 

4 make sure that the lamp unit is replaceable and cheap to buy

It has been a complaint aimed at the Halogen oven from day one, the heating element is easily damaged by rough handling. Sooner or later it may break, although  less so now, as the new generation of Halogen oven has a much better life span. Nevertheless, if it does break, you don’t want that to be the end, a simple to fit replacement at a good price is an essential consideration. The benefits of the oven overall, make it very worthwhile to fit a new element if you can, rather than have to dump the whole unit.

5 Ensure there is no question of electrical safety

A simple point this one. Some halogen ovens are still on sale in the original form without the essential modifications to bad designs. If you go through the reviews on this site, my scores will make it clear enough, when there are a lot of comments and feedback from many customers about the same problems , like sparking electric cables, rusty element covers and poor electrical contacts to the lamp, the manufacturers of these models really should have modifications   ready and carried out pronto !  Or just replace it with a new  properly designed model.  They just don’t deserve to have our custom, if they  don’t.

6 Don’t buy one with difficult to operate controls

It’s a fact some manufacturers introduce technology that is NOT easy to use. Ok the old dials were dead simple, set up temperature with one and time with the other. Its fine to give your customers new digital controls, but if they are difficult to use, it simply puts customers off. I particularly like the Andrew James   model, that introduced digital controls, it followed the same simple layout as the old dial types and was a big hit –  because it was understandable.

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The advantages with digital are obvious,  in that times and temperatures can be set very precisely . In addition some would introduce new features like different fan speeds and delay timers, so you could have something preloaded in the oven and time it to start at  a later time.

7 Is the manufacturer in the UK( or US) and can be contacted easily.

So often I read reviews of goods bought in supermarkets, with an unknown name usually cheap, but not always, being commented on by some luckless customer who can’t get a replacement handle or glass bowl. With the ones I review, you know where you are,  you can phone or email the service departments and order parts.  I never waste money on unknown brands now unless it is really cheap. Asda for example sell some kettles at an unbelievable £5 and they work properly !  But if you’re going to pay out for a versatile cooker, make it a good one, the savings you make will pay for the  oven in no time !

8 Are spare parts available

The spare part that is crucial is of course the heating element.   For my own preference, the Andrew James models, a quick look on Amazon told me that the  element  is available easily and cheaply and the unit would not become an expensive burden.  I  haven’t  had  the misfortune of a blown element but I have taken the cover off to have a look and even with my meagre skills I can see that the task is relatively easy.  As  my comments on the review pages will show  , this situation is not always a positive one, many of the ovens are criticised for being inaccessible, making element replacement too difficult to even attempt. Also don’t attempt the job unless you can buy the right part.

9 Never burn or overcook your food ever again!

Cooking is controlled with a timer.  As a mom of teenagers I can assure you that they burn almost everything !  As soon as that pan of milk goes on the hob , or that pizza goes in the oven, their attention is instantly wandering, usually to the ipod, phone or tablet gizmos. Next thing the milk is bubbling over or the smell of burning pizza is coming upstairs or even setting off the smoke alarm. Well…. simple solution, buy a Halogen oven and it only cooks until the timer goes off. It will only cook with the timer engaged, so you can’t fool it !

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10 Which is easiest to clean up, A halogen Oven, A gas oven or a microwave ?

Easy! The Halogen will self clean the grease and most burnt on remains after use, but it is also dishwasher safe.   Cleaning the gas oven is still a messy job. Even the microwave takes a little while, but the Halogen makes a really quick meal and cooks it well, afterwards just pour in some  hot water and a squirt of washing up liquid and put it on “clean cycle” . The soapy water starts to swirl around the bowl and after a short while has cleaned off the worst of the grease. If necessary you can pop the big bowl in the dishwasher .

 

The kitchen gadgets keep mounting up, fighting for space on the countertop. Which do I use the most, which is the most versatile?  Can I do without one?

The Microwave Pros and Cons

The microwave has been around since its invention shortly after the second world war and cooks by producing the short wavelength radio waves  , which were found to make the molecules of high water  content of the food  vibrate faster and therefore heat up. It is very  successful  and quick in most cases, in fact a whole industry of pre packed foods and complete meals has grown up aimed at the microwave owning family.

It is however limited. Although it will cook a chicken adequately, visually you wouldn’t want to eat it! It doesn’t brown the food or crisp it at all, making bacon, sausage, chicken look uncooked.  Sausage in particular can be a problem, if you overcook even slightly, it turns into an inedible rubber tube!

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Britain and most of Europe is in the grip of rapidly rising energy costs and ever increasing food prices. Make sure you make the wise decision when it comes to feeding the family.

The Halogen Oven will :

  • Use less Electricity than any other cooking method
  • Cook faster than any other method – saving even more fuel
  • Cuts wasted fuel heating the kitchen- saving even more fuel
  • Cuts wasted fuel pre heating the oven- saving even more fuel
  • Always uses the timer- prevents accidental over cooking- saves more fuel-saves on wasted food
  • temperature control is extremely accurate – no wasted fuel
  • reheat your leftovers perfectly, making tasty and cheap meals- saving money on food bills  too
  • Over a year it will make a VERY  significant difference to your cooking bills

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The Halogen cooker is very versatile, it is also very portable. This year I took it camping!  We had an electric hook up and it proved to be perfect in the tent. I have always been all too aware that cooking in a  tent with the usual gas canister type cooker can be hazardous. I remember too my Dads old parafin stove, that was positively lethal !.

Compared to a simple camping gas stove, the Halogen oven was so versatile, complete and varied menus more or less the same as at home, depending of course on whether I could buy what I needed, in the local shop.

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Good Value Products

I am constantly reminded of the throw away culture we live in. My Son recently fetched me some shopping , which included a new washing up bowl. The bowl he purchased is so flimsy it is actually impossible to pick it up , full of water, without it cracking round the rim at the top! Ok it was less expensive than the trip to the Supermarket but it isn’t fit for its purpose…

out of order

out of order

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Cook from Frozen with the Halogen Oven?  I can hear all those professional cooks squirming and with good reason. If you’ve ever produced a dish still frozen in the middle, after the proper cooking time, you will know how difficult it is to judge with a microwave. I’ve even had it served up in a fancy French restaurant. Oh  the fuss that caused !

The Halogen Cooker though is very very good at circulating the hot air, Continue reading

What to get for a Christmas present for the nearest and dearest? Be original this year, the Halogen Oven is an ideal gift and once the lucky recipient realises just how convenient, efficient and quick it is for everyday cooking, it won’t be one of those gifts that end up in the loft, it will be used every single day.

send a Halogen Oven to a friend this Christmas

Very efficient and great results every time

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If you have never seen one in action, here goes…

The lid has a stand ( except the cookers with integral hinged lids ) make sure you have it placed on the work surface ready, when the cooker is hot it is essential to have the stand ready. Also be careful with the hot lid, this is when damage to the lamp can occur, always be gentle placing the lid down on the stand or back on the cooker.

Load the cooker 

These ovens are supplied with wire racks. The food is cooked by circulating hot air, so you must ensure that the air can reach the underside. In practice some foods may need to be turned during cooking, to ensure good results. Use a low wire rack for cooking, baking, re heating and roasting, use the higher rack for grilling.

 

Set up the temperature and the time

It really couldn’t be simpler. Treat cookery books as guides only, you will soon be able to adjust normal recipes for the Halogen cooker. There are plenty of tips on this site for cooking different dishes.

US-Morningware1-450Here is the lamp and fan at work circulating the hot air around the bowl.

Notice the Thaw/Wash setting, the heat and fan are used to create waves that wash the dish clean after use…. now that takes some beating!

The Amazing Halogen Oven

2018 Update.

Hi, I hope this site (now in its sixth year) will help you decide about these unusual products, without being conned into buying whatever the local store happens to have piled up in stock. You can read the manufacturers own glowing descriptions, then when buying it online, you find it just isn’t what was promised. Its no good after you’ve bought a lemon, Googling it online at forums and finding hundreds of posts complaining about the same thing. So I decided to do some real research into Halogen Ovens and give you my findings… which is the best value Halogen Oven? I have compiled my findings on the review pages:-

When I got my first Halogen Light powered Cooker I was very sceptical about the performance a machine that cost so little against my trusty Gas oven which had served so well over years and years of cooking.

Believe! these little units are extraordinary

  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Save time cleaning afterwards
  • Get the very best results every time with very little effort
layout of a halogen cooker

halogen cooker basic layout

The halogen oven is as cheap as a  microwave oven, but cooks like a conventional oven, browning meat perfectly. It is also as quick as a  microwave but doesn’t suffer with cold spots , the heat is distributed very evenly.  It will also cook straight out of the freezer! No thawing necessary. Plus there is no pre-heating like your gas oven, it reaches top temperature almost instantly.
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