Healthier frying from the Tefal ActiFry Plus

Healthier chips! That’s the promise from Tefal, which has recently launched the latest version of its number one selling kitchen appliance, the Actifry.


Now, I’m always a bit wary of kitchen gadgets – in most houses (even in ours where I’m always experimenting in the kitchen) they get used a couple of times and then are relegated to the back of a dusty cupboard, until they are donated to the charity shop. However, the Actifry seems to have hit a nerve with the cooking public.

Perhaps the lure of healthy chips is the key to its success. Chips can be cooked from frozen without oil – and using fresh potatoes, you need use only a spoonful of oil. The latest version of the device – the Actifry Plus – offers chips that are 20% healthier than those produced by the original model if that’s important to you..

The Actifry Plus can cater for around four to five people (while the original and the Family models cater for fewer and more hungry mouths). The device comes in black or white and has its own recipe book (if you buy the black model, this comes on a USB stick).

So, for a grand price of £204.99, what does the Actifry Plus offer that your average frying pan doesn’t? Well, its main selling point is, I guess that it can cook without oil (or with very little), and that you can create all kinds of dishes, whether you’re doing sausages for the kids or making something a bit more complicated, such as a curry or stir fry – and that it doesn’t need any mixing, stirring or shaking – as the patented rotating mixing paddle does this for you.

So how does it cut down on the oil usage? Hot air is the answer. It blows hot air on your food, sounding, apparently, a bit like a hairdryer.

At one time I might have scoffed that anyone didn’t have time to stir a stir fry, but sometimes, when I’m trying to fix small son’s racing track, cook dinner, keep an eye on an email I’m expecting, avoid stepping on a kitten and listen to how my other half’s day at work went, also having to stir the dinner can be a step too far – my many burnt saucepans are testament to that!

Plus the device’s bowl comes out and can be washed in the dishwasher, AND it cuts down on grease buildup in the kitchen, so that’s another cleaning job sorted.

However, whether I would pay out more than two hundred quid for the convenience is another matter. Anyone who reads my reviews will know I am a bit of a skinflint, and hate paying out for anything unnecessary, but if I did have a spare two hundred pounds, I might just give the ActiFry a chance.

London on a plate iOS app

As any London-based gourmand knows, the capital offers an amazing range of eating options, which can at times be over-whelming or even obscured by numerous steak houses and burger bars. Apps like Urban Spoon and Yelp are great for listing nearby eateries but have a tendency to swamp you with choices when you hit Zone One, with no real indication of quality. Wouldn’t a guiding hand be great?


Enter author and journalist Charmain Ponnuthurai, (author of Midnight Feasts and alumni of London recipe vault Books for Cooks (a Portobello Road institution started by Two Fat Ladies’ Clarissa Dickson Wright)) who lives and loves London life like any passionate resident or savvy visitor should, and has released a new application on the iPhone – London on a Plate, designed to make the great city a lot more intimate, memorable and accessible.

Rather than cataloguing every eating option the city have to offer, London on a Plate offers an advertising-free curated list and embraces every aspect of food culture – from taste, quality and service to recommendations for a handsome dinner party, including what to wear by the best British designers (although literally nothing in my wardrobe is in there so take their recommendations with a pinch of salt!).

Ah if you don’t live in London (so people can’t stand the place) London on a Plate also accesses London’s most acclaimed kitchens to source one hundred specially-commissioned recipes from elite chefs including John Torode, Fergus Henderson and Tom Aikens, which cannot be found anywhere else.

There are lots of cool images of fashion and furniture thrown in as well as a unique images of the city that are updated on a regular basis, making the app fun to casually browse.
The app was launched at £3.99 but is on sale for 59p at the moment in the App Store. A percentage of each app sale is also donated to London food charity Fareshare.

iPhone Apps for good food

Are you a Come Dine With Me fan? Do you love hosting dinners? I always think I can do better and tell everyone how I would make the dish more delicious. Take the hassle out of hosting with the Come Dine With app as it offers menu options and a Hardys wine which complement your choice of dish.


The Come Dine With Me app will please fans of the show as it provides sophisticated three course meal suggestions and it will give you a shopping list to ensure you have all the ingredients. Perhaps you need a wine to go with a cheese dish? The app can pair the dish you make with a Hardys wine to go with it so you can be a wine connoisseur for the night. For a bit of fun, the app provides some quotes from Dave Lamb, narrator of Come Dine With Me so you really feel part of the show. Once the dinner is over, guests can score your meal so you experience everything the hosts go through. Available on the iTunes store from £1.79.

There are times when you cannot get to the supermarket and the cupboard looks a bit dire. To help the busy consumer, Canned Food UK and celeb chef, James Martin provide the u.can cook app with free recipes using canned foods. The app has over 80 quick recipes for you to search from, including some videos from James Martin himself. For the adventurous among you, there is a random recipe generator.  The app aims to highlight the versatility, nutrition and convenience of canned foods. You can choose a recipe based on what you have in the kitchen and you can even see all the nutritional information. Canned food does not need to be unhealthy. Why not have some canned fruit? Available now in iTunes here.

Two very different cooking apps. So do they whet your app-etite?