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!
Cooking with electromagnetic waves adds one more serious limitation, you cannot put any form of metal container in it, or even a plate which has a metallic pattern on it. The currents induced by the EM waves will burn out any conductors and may cause fires or crockery to crack.
Eggs are the other main everyday item which is difficult to manage, there are egg cookers, a plastic mould you can cook your eggs in, but put one in whole, in its shell and you’ll have a mini explosion.
Using a Halogen Oven has many Advantages
The Halogen does a wonderful job of eggs, bacon and toast , although I won’t be giving up my toaster any time soon. Meat is probably its finest product, once you have achieved a roast using a Halogen, you will want to use it every time, chicken, beef, lamb or pork is done to a turn, moist, succulent, piping hot, browned and not raw in the middle. Best of all you can see the fat pour out of the meat and see exactly when its done, all without opening the oven door. As it is a countertop unit you haven’t had to bend down to check it, either.
If like me you like your vegetables on the raw side, full of vitamins. Use your Halogen oven to steam them. It takes no time at all, start with a kettle of boiling water, pour into the halogen bowl and use the steamer tray, with its perforations, to cook any vegetables.
Baking is probably the most difficult of the tasks before the Halogen and the Microwave. I remember when the microwave appeared, I spent days trying things out, scones I found were virtually impossible, they just turned out hard , like biscuits. In the halogen though, as long as you watch the final minutes and don’t overcook, it will turn out great cakes, bread or biscuits, just like a normal oven. You can put any normal ovenware pots, pans, cake tins, greaseproof paper etc in a halogen, unlike the microwave it isn’t affected by the container.
The single most common mistake I see, when using the Halogen Oven is not leaving a gap for the air to circulate, this will cause problems like not cooking all round, uncooked in the middle, if you are cooking from frozen, it might still be cold in the middle.
Its only fair to mention the one area where Halogen Ovens fail, that is with casseroles and stews. With curry and chilli the microwave will do a reasonable job, but stews or anything with a large amount of stock or liquid, really a slow cooker is the best way, leave it on all day, marvellous tender meat every time, it’s a little out of the scope of this article , so I’ll leave it for another time
One area, where the microwave has been used extensively is to reheat leftovers, but the Halogen oven is equally as good for this purpose, set a minute or two, give it a stir round and test, alway making sure to reheat to a good heat, don’t risk the bacteria multiplying and causing you an upset stomach. This is doubly important with chicken and some meat products. If its been lying around in the fridge for more than 1 day, don’t risk it, feed it to the bin!
My Favorite … Chips !
Last but not least, a word about chips. These potato snacks are certainly here to stay, a firm favourite, so do your family a favour. The halogen, with the Airfryer attachment, cooks the best, tastiest, low fat chips possible.
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Read more about the Airfryer Attachment (see most useful accessory)
You can get your chips as soft or crunchy as you like, just change the timing. Best of all, with just a tiny spray of oil, or if you are using pre packed frozen chips, NO oil, you are making really good LOW FAT snacks. So dont carry on with microwaving those expensive boxed chips, use a Halogen cooker instead and make perfect, evenly cooked chips, exactly how you like them, every time.