Toughest Cowboy

Living in a Food Loving Household

The Philips HD9220 Air fryer Review

Detailed Philips air fryer reviewA few years ago, the world was introduced to the very first electric air fryer. Even though the name is fairly self-explanatory, not many of us knew what to expect. After all, how can air be used to fry foods!

Well, a few years after that, the popularity of this product is on the rise, as more and more of us try to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Many cooking blogs have posted their own detailed air fryer review showcasing how they work and praising the quality of food produced. Just so you know, by using a product like this, you can expect to fry, grill, bake and roast various food items without using more than a single spoon of oil. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to use oil in some machines. The most impressive aspect is frying of course, as this is the part that requires the most oil. Surprisingly though, the results are very similar to what you would end up with a deep fryer except that there will be far less calories!

The Philips HD9220 is a leading hot air fryer for you to buy and continues to provide the best value for new consumers. In fact, it would be a perfect replacement for deep fat frying. After cooking several items, we found the French fries to be excellent but there are some limitations of this health fryer that you might not have come across before.

The Design Aspect of Air Fryers

The Philips HD9220 comes in a rather compact design that is quite narrow rather than wide. This will allow you to store this in the tightest of spaces in your kitchen. There are some simple controls at the top and these will allow you to operate the timer and change the temperature. In the middle, you have a compartment for a relatively small cooking basket. This means that the capacity of this air fryer isn’t that impressive! As with most traditional fryers, we don’t get a see-through design that will allow us to keep an eye on the food being cooked.

HD9220 Air Fryer Review – The Features

The instruction manual and recipe book included with the HD9220 suggest that this is a fan oven with the ability to cook pretty much everything. This ranges from making French fries, baking potatoes to making cakes! When making French fries, you will only have a capacity of 800 grams. However, you will only need a single tablespoon of oil for this. This means that the cooked French fries will contain very little fat, a feat that compares favorably to restaurants.

You might be thinking that the French fries might turn out to be quite dry as if you made them in an oven. However, these will be far better than any French fries made in an oven. In addition to these, other snacks like prawn crackers turned out perfect! Certainly, when it comes to French fries and small snacks, this will be the best air fryer for any household. Obviously, there isn’t a see-through window to monitor the progress so you’ll have to do this manually!

Like most appliances, cleaning is a factor that must be taken into consideration. After using the Philips HD9220, this job can be carried out quite easily due to the fact that most of the parts are safe to use in a dishwasher. Some times the wire mesh can have stuff caught in between but this isn’t anywhere near as greasy as a deep fryer!

Is the Philips HD9220 the Best Air Fryer and should you buy it?

It depends really. If your sole priority were to cook healthy food and to find a way to enjoy French fries but with low calories then this model would be perfect. However, if taste is your main priority then obviously you prefer the taste of oily full-fat French fries. In this case, you would be better off sticking to a traditional deep fryer. Still though, the HD9220 is quite effective even though it has a small capacity and can be quite expensive. Hopefully, this detailed air fryer review gave you a better idea of how good the Philips HD9220 is. If you’re still not sure whether to buy this product, it would be a good idea to watch the video below.

Patatas Bravas

I have a friend with a particularly good turn of phrase and one of her favourite things to say is ‘God loves a trier.’ This particular phrase came to me this morning when I was reviewing the utter carnage that unfolded when I attempted to serve the toddler a dinner item that was not pasta or risotto.

As a general rule, he doesn’t throw food but last night came perilously close. Anyone would think I’d served him up pure poison rather than sausages (which had been scoffed on Sunday) and potatoes that were almost chips.

Anyway, my husband and I thought this tasted very nice and if your child eats potatoes this would make a nice introduction to spice.

Patatas bravas

In case of emergency, and potato phobic toddlers, this sauce also apparently goes well with pasta (what else) and grated cheddar. Makes two portions.

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of diced onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 227g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of sugar (mine were quite large pinches, approx 1/4 tsp each, adjust as you see fit)

For the ‘patatas’:

  • 1 medium sized potato
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Water for boiling

Put your oven on to preheat, I usually do mine at 180 degrees (fan). While your oven is preheating, start the sauce.

Heat the two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a smallish pan and lightly fry the onion. About five minutes in, add the tomato puree, garlic, paprika and cayenne. Cook for a further two minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes and sugar. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for around 30 minutes.

Peel and chop your potatoes into the size you prefer (I did toddler bite sized) and put into a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for three minutes (I use a timer for this as I have a terrible tendency to forget and then end up with mush). Drain and leave to sit for a few minutes.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a baking tin or tray and put into the oven to heat up. The best time to do this is when you put the timer on for the potatoes, as oil only needs about five minutes in a hot oven to get spitting hot.

Take the tray with the hot oil out of the oven, tip the parboiled potatoes in and give a good shake to ensure they are all coated in hot oil before returning to the oven for around 20 minutes or until nice and crispy. Be warned, they will spit!

When the potatoes are ready, put on a plate and spoon some of the sauce over. The sauce should cover but not drown the potatoes. Serve with whatever you wish.

Homemade Gnocchi (with Pesto and Peas)

I had my mum over recently for the toddler’s birthday and one of things that happens when she’s over is that we end up making seemingly endless trips to my local supermarket, so much so that she has renamed it my ‘larder’.

I had some leftover pesto in the fridge this morning and quite fancied it with gnocchi for lunch, but the thought of having to get the child dressed, push him to the supermarket on his new trike (probably with a pitstop in the park), coupled with the fact I’d been going there twice a day for the last week, was all a bit too much for me so I decided to give homemade a go.

They were surprisingly easy to make; they did take a bit of time but in that relaxing, methodical kind of way and the end result was so much lighter and tastier than the supermarket version.

Gnocchi

I did originally intend to involve the toddler in this as I thought it would make a good cooking activity for kids, but he wasn’t keen and just wanted to play with his bus so chaos was kept to a minimum. The portion size below fed one adult and one toddler.

Ingredients

  • 330g potato, floury if possible
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g plain flour

Peel and chop your potatoes and place them into a saucepan of cold water. Bring the water to the boil and cook the potatoes for ten minutes or until a knife goes cleanly through. Drain and allow to sit.

Clean and flour the work surface that you are planning to use, then using the smallest option on a potato ricer, rice the potatoes directly into the work surface. Make a well in the centre of the potato and pour the beaten egg into it. Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour and start to mix it together. (You’ll need to be quite quick here or the egg will escape). Continue adding flour and kneading until the ‘dough’ no longer sticks to your hands or work surface. You may not need to add all the flour, that’s fine, keep it for flouring the surface during the next stage.

Sprinkle a bit more flour onto your work surface and take about a quarter of the dough. Roll it out into a sausage shape about an inch thick then cut into centimetre thick slices. Flour your thumb (weird, I know), then take each slice, bend it over your thumb and press the back of a fork into it. Place each gnoccho (I looked it up!) onto a lightly floured plate and continue until all the dough has been transformed into gnocchi. I then put mine back in the fridge to firm up a bit before using.

When you are ready to cook them, bring a pan of water to the boil and start cooking the gnocchi. It’s best to do in batches to avoid them sticking together, I did mine in four batches. Cook each batch for two minutes, or until all the gnocchi have risen to the surface and remove with a slotted spoon. When all the gnocchi have been cooked, chuck them all back in for thirty seconds then drain and serve with your choice of sauce. We had ours mixed with 2 tablespoons of pesto and a good handful of peas. Well I did, a certain someone’s still a pea phobe.

I have to say that I enjoyed the gnoccho even more than this amazing spinach lasagne that I made the other day.

Cheesy Chicken Pancakes

This week the unthinkable happened: my child stopped eating. I thought it might be coming, as since the start of the year he’s basically just eaten pasta with sauce or sandwiches. I wasn’t too worried as you can pretty much get anything into a pasta sauce, but when he started refusing the one thing he would eat for dinner I have to say I was pretty stumped. He had sandwiches one evening then I thought I’d try pancakes (which he sometimes has for breakfast when we are feeling wild of a Sunday morning. Crazy days huh.)

I had a chunk of poached chicken in the freezer about an inch long and half an inch thick so I added that, but you could use anything you have really. I used mushroom another evening and did think about adding some baby leaf spinach, but I felt it was a foodstuff that needed to be added surreptitiously and I wasn’t in a position to do that what with the child standing on a chair and peering at the hot pan and pancake mix.

Cheese Chicken Pancakes

This recipe makes three pancakes, half of which was eaten by the boy and the other half scoffed by the husband and me. Bad bad bad.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 250g plain flour
  • 250ml milk (I used semi skimmed)
  • 70g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • A handful of cooked chicken, diced
  • Bit of butter and bit of oil for frying
  • Some pepper, if you like

Put the egg, flour and milk in a bowl and whisk it all together until you have a smooth batter. Pancake purists say to put the flour in first, make a well, then add the milk and beaten egg into the well before mixing together.

You can do it this way if you don’t have an impatient toddler who just wants to fling all the ingredients in and DO WHISKING MUMMY. When you have a smooth batter, add the grated cheese in.

Put a small frying pan onto a ring on your hob at the highest setting and melt a small knob of butter with a splash of vegetable oil. Add about a third of the diced chicken and cook for a couple of minutes before adding a good ladleful of batter. Cook until there are bubbles coming through and the batter on the top is almost solid.

Flip and cook for another couple of minutes before removing. Repeat the whole exercise until your pancake batter is used up. Allow the pancakes to cool slightly before serving to your master.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

Many years ago, when I was footloose and fancy free with a disposable (ish) income, I had a birthday lunch with my friend in a very nice restaurant. We had champagne and complimentary handmade chocolates and for my starter I had butternut squash ravioli. They were utterly delicious; the whole meal was delicious but it is tantamount to their particular deliciousness that they are the one course I can remember clearly (not tantamount to the champagne at all…) Now, not only do I no longer have boozy, girly lunches in nice restaurants but the arrival of butternut squash in our vegbox fills me with dread.

No longer able to stomach butternut squash risotto or butternut squash and tomato soup (both very tasty by the way, just definitely overeaten) I decided to put the effort in and make a butternut squash lasagne. I’ve made one before, a kind of random compilation that was verging on inedible, so this time I decided to go down the traditional route of combining butternut squash and spinach.

Spinach Lasagne

On my second attempt I increased the quantities of both the butternut squash and the cheese sauce and it was definitely worth it. FYI any vegbox users; you can substitute the standard onion and garlic for the young green onions and any wet (fresh) garlic you may get. It adds a lovely, subtle, fresh taste. Serves four adults. The toddler has progressed to Heinz Tomato Soup but still pretty much in his chip phase.

Ingredients

  • 500g butternut squash, peeled and sliced thinly (half a cm is good)
  • 250g bag of spinach
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • Large sprig of rosemary
  • 1 quantity cheese sauce (see below)
  • 9 lasagne sheets
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • Olive oil (approx 5 tbsp)
  • For the cheese sauce
  • 3 tsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tsp flour
  • 300 ml whole milk
  • 50g cheddar
  • 25g parmesan
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • Fresh nutmeg to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan) and butter the dish you are going to use. Finely chop the sprigs of rosemary then lay the peeled and sliced butternut squash on a baking tray, sprinkle the rosemary over and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast in the oven for around 25 minutes (check after 15 to make sure they are not burning and adjust the temperature if needed.)

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. While this is heating, rinse the spinach in a colander and add a handful at a time, stirring continuously until it has all wilted. Put back into the colander and sit over a bowl to allow it to drain and cool. When it is cool, squeeze as much water out as possible.

Heat the final 2 tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and soft. Leave to one side.

Not it is time to prepare your oh so cheesy sauce. You need to put the required butter into a pan and start melting it. Once this is done completely, the next step would be to put flour in and start stirring at a relatively quick pace. This will quickly lead to a pasty texture or ‘roux’. Stir until it starts to smell biscuity then pour the milk in slowly with a couple of splashes at a time, allowing to thicken slightly before adding more. Make sure to stir or whisk continuously to avoid any lumps (whisking is probably a better bet for this). When all the milk has been added, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for ten minutes. When the time is up, remove from hob and mix the cream cheese in before adding the cheddar and parmesan. Finish with a healthy grating of nutmeg and leave to one side. You can also add this basic tomato sauce to your lasagne. It has balsamic vinegar and basil so gives the whole thing a punch.

Now you need to precook the lasagne sheets. I do this regardless of whether the packet says to precook or not (ref the almost inedible lasagne with raw lasagne sheets). It is annoying, and will use up probably the last pan in your kitchen, but it is worth it and you’ve already put so much effort in you may as well go the whole hog. This is how I do it: get a large frying pan and heat a couple of inches of water until boiling. Add one sheet of lasagne then put a spatula on top and add a second sheet of lasagne. (The spatula will stop them sticking together.) Cook for three minutes then lay on a plate to cool. Yes, this is a massive faff but you already have more washing up than you thought possible and on the plus side it will then allow you to cut the lasagne sheets to fit your dish.

When everything is ready, preheat your oven to 180C (no fan) and start to assemble your lasagne.

Cover the bottom of your dish with pasta sheets then add half the butternut squash as a layer. Take half the spinach and kind of dot over the squash, followed by half the onion and garlic mixture. Add some of the cheese sauce, about six dessert spoonfuls. Cover with lasagne sheets and repeat for a second layer. Once the second layer is done, add a final layer of lasagne sheets and cover with the remainder of the cheese sauce. Dot the mozzarella on top then cook in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. I did mine at 180C without fan for the first 15 minutes then 180C with fan for the remaining 15 minutes, which meant I got the top nice and crispy. If you don’t have a fan oven, turn up to 200C after 15 minutes and if you only have a fan oven, then start off at 160C before increasing to 180C.

For some reason the thought of making a meat lasagne is totally beyond me but I do actually enjoy making vegetarian ones. Who knows why! While this recipe does involve a good bit of effort, it is a good one if you are being greeted with butternut squash a few too many times in your vegbox or have a vegetarian coming to eat. Should also freeze well.

Basic Tomato Sauce with Balsamic and Basil

I made pizza dough earlier this week using fresh yeast and strong bread flour. It was so delicious, I decided I’d finally cracked homemade pizza and was, in fact, a pizza making genius. Brilliant, I thought, I’ll make it again for the husband using the proper flour just to confirm I am indeed a pizza making genius.

Unfortunately an early evening trip to the out of hours doctor meant that the pizza dough was left proving for far too long and while the taste was good, I couldn’t get it thin enough so it was more of a thick crust American diner pizza than the yummy thin crust I’d made earlier in the week. So it turns out that I’m not in fact a pizza making genius and need a third go at the pizza dough recipe. However I did finally crack the tomato sauce so here it is.

Basic Tomato Sauce

If you’re making this for adults only or you’re not worried about using wine when children are going to eat it (I’m still weird about this) you can substitute the balsamic for 100ml of red wine. Makes enough for four adult pizzas.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tin of good quality tomatoes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or 100ml red wine
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • Small handful of basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, and turn down to a medium heat and sauté for five minutes. When the time is up, add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Now add the balsamic vinegar, or red wine if you’re using, turn the heat up and allow to bubble away until all the liquid has evaporated.

Chuck in your tin of tomatoes, turn the heat down and allow to simmer gently for 30-45 minutes. When the sauce is ready, take off the heat and stir in a pinch of sugar (I think my pinch was around a quarter of a teaspoon) and the torn basil leaves. Allow to cool slightly before blitzing. I used this as a base for pizzas but it would also work well as a pasta sauce and of course it freezes well.

As you can see, I’ve taken to using washed up mini Carte d’Or ice cream pots for the toddler’s portions. They are the perfect size for us, plus something good needs to come out of all the ice cream eating that goes on in this house.