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Cool factor 4/5Usability 3½/5Value for money 4/5
Airfryers are known for fat-reducing features that cook quickly and use less power. It is essentially a mini convection oven that requires no preheating, so food can be popped straight in or cooked from frozen.
Philips sells a variety of airfryers, but its new Essential XL Connected (HD9280) pairs with the NutriU app and can be used with voice commands.
The app lets you set a time and temperature, power it remotely and keep food warm once cooked.
It uses Amazon’s Alexa and would need an Echo speaker to pair it.
It was a tricky setup because it’s not in the manual. You need the Philips Kitchen Plus skill on the Alexa app, which lists all 20 voice commands to use, in this format: "Alexa, tell Kitchen Plus to turn my airfryer on", and so on.
Of course, the Essential XL Connected can also be used without the app or voice commands. It has a touch panel to manually choose a temperature and time, plus there are seven presets for frozen foods, fries, meat, fish, chicken drumsticks, vegetables and pies.
The XL in the name means it has a 6.2l capacity, larger than the standard 4.1l analogue model. The airfryer basket holds 1.2kg, suitable for four people. It uses Philips’s rapid-air technology that swirls hot air to cook food that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
I love cooking in an airfryer and use it more than my stove and oven, which means using less electricity because there is no preheating and it cooks quicker. This is useful if you’re on prepaid electricity or monitoring consumption.
I’ve cooked chicken, salmon, chops, steak, ostrich, burger patties, sausages and eggs.
I’ve also fried frozen foods, reheated pizza, and baked cookies, mini cakes and a cheesecake.
If you’re out of cooking ideas, the NutriU app has recipes curated by nutritionists, as well as the option to follow others who share recipes.
The Philips Essential XL Connected airfryer can fry, bake, grill and roast, and keep food warm for up to 30 minutes. The digital model is an excellent size for a family of four. It is best for app and voice usage, though the novelty of voice commands may wear off. It is priced at R3,699.
For larger families, consider the 7.3l XXL model, which works with the NutriU app for recipes sans voice commands, for R4,699.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.