What’s An Air Fryer?
The Latest Cooking Gadget
When it comes to amazing kitchen gadgets, it seems that the microwave can move over now. Something called the air fryer has taken its place. An almost effortless kitchen gadget which cooks food. It’s a countertop kitchen appliance which won’t take up too much room. It can add an extra string to your bow when it comes to convenience. Like the microwave, it can heat up leftovers, making them delicious all over again. And it cooks food too. In fact, it can fry without oil.
So What Exactly Is An Air Fryer?
It looks like a small oven. And as mentioned already, it can cook food or even heat up leftovers. It works by circulating hot air all around the food. When it cooks the food, it causes something called the Maillard effect. The Maillard effect is usually produced when food fries in a pot of oil. It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. So if the air fryer can produce the Maillard effect without oil, you could call it oil-free frying. But how can you fry without oil? Well, you can cook anything you like in the air fryer. But for taste, chefs recommend that you apply a thin layer of oil on the outside of the food. You can apply the oil with a soft brush. I prefer to use those plastic packets in which oil. There’s plenty of oil sticking to the sides of those bags even when the oil is gone. Wrap those oily bags around your items and they’re ready to go in your air fryer.
When Did The Air Fryer Start To Appear?
The air fryer first appeared a few years ago. But the demand has shot up recently, as more and more people are becoming aware that it exists. Now you can get them in almost any electrical shop. They are discreet and seem to fit in anywhere and everywhere. There’s a drawer-like shelf with a pull-out handle. This is how you open the gadget. Inside is a wire basket, like the chip pan or deep fat fryer baskets we all know.
What’s The Air Fryer’s Speciality?
In the UK we call them chips. But everywhere else we call them French fries. Remember how you loved eating those as a child, but your mother warned you not to eat too much or you’d get fat or get pimples? The air fryer helps you to make lovely chips. Better still, they only have a fraction of the oil that traditional French fries have. So, this definitely has to be one of the world’s greatest inventions. As a recent convert to the air fryer, my own experience is very short. But as I started cautiously with the microwave, it seems I’m also starting with this appliance. So far, I’d say that heated leftovers taste wonderful from the fryer. Soup, curry, rice, stew, whatever. But a word of warning. Don’t leave your food in here for too long. Your bread slices will burn to a crisp otherwise and your rice will dry out.
Air Fryer Settings
There are two dial buttons on the outside of my air fryer. One shows the temperature to which you can make the air fryer reach. The other is dial button is the timer and it sets the fryer for as long as you need it to cook. It’s a good idea to pre-heat the fryer for a few minutes before starting to cook in it. And it doesn’t take long for the fryer to heat and cook food. Three to five minutes is the most I’ve ever had to do that.
Health & Safety Benefits Of The Air Fryer
The first benefit of the air fryer is the fact that it produces friend food with only a fraction of the oil required. To people who love fried food but can’t enjoy it because they are trying to lose weight. Another obvious benefit is that without a deep fat fryer or chip pan, the kitchen is less dangerous. With a pan full of deep, boiling oil, there was always the danger of oil spilling and burning someone. Not that the air fryer is 100% safe, Touch the steel basket when it’s too hot, you will feel pain. But it’s still safer than a dangerous pan full of boiling oil.
What’s Next For My Air Fryer?
At the moment, the air fryer is very new to me. But I know that after some time, I’ll need to know some recipes and learn all the different things the air fryer can do. A great source of knowledge is the wonderful search engine site Pinterest and Air Grub’s brilliant air fryer comparison site.
It’s a common mistake that you have to put limitations on your diet in order to eat healthily. It isn’t about dietary limitations, healthy eating is about completely different things. It’s about stabilizing your mood, improving your health and simply feeling great about being yourself.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of the food you love in order to stay in shape. The Internet is swarming with countless diet advice and nutrition recommendations and all of a sudden everyone with a keyboard is an expert.
This can be very overwhelming at times and one could get confused very easily. Many recommend eating meat while others say that meat is bad for your health. On the other hand, you can find articles saying meat is absolutely crucial for good health.
The truth is, every natural food you can find in the world like meat, vegetables, fruits and everything else is there for a reason. If it is there then it’s good for you. The trick is to learn how to use them properly in order to get the best of them all. To learn how, you first need to understand what healthy eating means.
What means eating healthy?
Eating healthy is nothing more than a lifestyle. It is a lifestyle where you learn how to create a diet that is nutritious, varied and tasty while giving your body everything that it needs. What is good for your body is good for your mind. What you eat shapes you.
If you constantly eat junk and fast food, processed food with lots of added sugars, salts and fats, you can’t expect to stay healthy or in shape. Too much of processed food is not only bad for your health but can leave permanent damage in your body.
A diet that is filled with processed food is linked with anxiety, bipolar disorder, stress and states of depression. On the other hand, if you eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, prefer to cook your meals yourself at home, you will drastically reduce the intake of refined carbohydrates and added sugar.
This will result in much lower risk for any heart disease or health issues and improved mood. Fresh vegetables and fruits give you raw energy that your body needs to function properly. Your overall dietary pattern is what really counts. Out with the processed foods and in with the real food.
There’s been radio silence around these parts for far too long. Sorry about that. Our fingers haven’t fallen off, rendering us unable to type – rather we’ve been busy moving out of London, writing lots of stuff for The Guardian…and penning a cookbook!
It’s called Dairy-Free Delicious, it’s out in March 2015 from Quadrille Publishing and it contains 120 recipes for food lovers who can’t do dairy. We’ve had to change the way we approach cooking and eating out a bit as we wanted to adjust it to the lactose-intolerant people. Hence the book. Lactose intolerant people have to change their eating habits a lot and embrace the fact that they have a lot to think about before preparing their next meal. We will use our blog to point that out as well as mention how this can change a person’s life and what to do about it. So, besides sharing new recipes, our readers will get a bit more on the lactose intolerant subject as well as our brand new website.
Our lives have changed in so many ways since we started this blog. We have loved this little online space so much, the experiences it has given us, and every one of you who came, read and left lovely comments. we may return to it at some point in the future but for now, it’s farewell to Pinch of Salt and…
…hello to Dairyfreedelicious.com.
We’d love it if you headed over to our new website full of recipes, product reviews, travel and eating out inspiration. It’s aimed at food lovers who can’t do dairy but we hope there are lots there for cheese-munchers to enjoy, too.
Thanks for reading,
Garlic bread is the latest instalment in my series of homemade alternatives to shop-bought staples. It’s several times tastier than the bought stuff, and there’s no cheap marg or unpronounceable preservatives in it either. Visit lovefood.com for the recipe.
You can put a garlic baguette into the oven in no time and get a delicious result in a few minutes. Why buy one when you can make it better than the one you paid for? It is so easy to make one so, let us get into what you need and how to get it done. Almost every restaurant in the world has this treat on their menus and despite its European origins, it is popular in every part of our planet. The best thing would be to make your own bread but we will not go that far this time.
Buy a fresh baguette and crush garlic while your oven is preheating to 180C. Take butter and let it soften a bit so that you can mix it with crushed garlic mash. Take some chopped parsley and add in there and use the spoon to even it out nicely. Add salt to your taste or any other season you like. Slice the baguette in half with a knife. You can cut any way you like it or leave it whole, it is up to you. The best thing to do is to make little slits along the baguette. Fill the slits with the garlic and butter mixture.
Use baking foil to wrap it tightly. The foil will take care of the aroma. Place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, take it out, open the foil and put it back for another five minutes. After it’s done, leave it a couple of minutes until the butter has sunk into it completely and your homemade garlic bread is ready. Use both baguette halves if there are more people. You can also make a nice dip that goes with it or just use it as a snack.
Homemade baked beans
For millions of us baked Beanz Meanz Heinz. And while there’s nothing wrong with heating up a tin, and pouring the Day-Glo orange sauce over your toast (especially when pimped with a little Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce), the flavour of bought baked beans doesn’t compete with home-made.
The history of baked beans is quite an interesting one as the first tin of baked beans was sold way back in 1886. It was HJ Heinz who sold it to Fortnum & Mason in London. Today, the most famous dish in England, the English breakfast, still contains baked beans as one of the main ingredients. It is a synonym for student suppers and cooked breakfasts.
Still, baked beans are still reviewed in the UK as an exotic and pricey American import. It is true that baked beans come from America. Well, we are here to see how to make baked beans by a homemade recipe standard. We will need a huge and heavy saucepan, onion, garlic and olive oil for starters. Place a saucepan over a medium heat and keep it low. Heat it up slowly and add onion, garlic and olive oil. Chop the tomatoes and mix them with vinegar, mustard, black treacle and sugar. Pour it all in and leave it a couple of minutes.
Make sure that you season it. Add the beans and let it simmer for an hour on medium heat. Use water if it is too thick. If you like it hotter, add some Tabasco in there along with more seasoning and it should be quite fine. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to make homemade baked beans and believe us when we say that no tin can replace the richness of that flavor. It’s just perfect.
Chocolate and blueberry gluten-free porridge
Porridge is one of the best ways to start the day (sorry, bacon). But to keep eating it every morning, I need some fun ingredients in the mix. This is a food-loving household, not a Victorian workhouse.
Enter: chocolate. More specifically, a spoonful of cocoa powder, not a paving slab of Dairy Milk. That would be silly. A little cocoa powder, plus a drizzle of agave nectar or honey is all you need to pimp your porridge. And now gluten-free oats are starting to appear in supermarkets, almost everyone can join in the porridge-pimping fun.
Oats are a thorny ingredient in the world of gluten-free diets. Although they don’t contain gluten themselves, oats are often contaminated with wheat, rye or barley in production or during the milling process.* Nairns now does a range of gluten-free oat products, including porridge oats. They are farmed separately and kept free from contamination during milling. Nairns sent me some gluten-free porridge oats recently and while I don’t often write about food products here on Pinch of Salt, I was particularly keen to give them a whirl…
About a year ago I was having some dull and unglamourous health problems, and was tested for Coeliac Disease among other things. Luckily, the result was negative but I did a lot of reading up on the condition and how difficult it can make eating out and cooking for sufferers. In my case, it eventually transpired after all those doctor’s visits that I am lactose intolerant. Farewell flat whites and hello steamed soy cappucinos and making the most of things with dairy-free workarounds like this.
So here’s a gluten-free, dairy-free way to make porridge feel like dessert, even though the naughtiest thing in it is two teaspoons of cocoa. As the porridge heats up, stir in some blueberries. They’ll start to soften and burst, adding a wonderful sweetness. It takes 5 minutes and makes overcast weekday mornings bearable…
Chocolate and blueberry porridge (gluten- and dairy-free)
50g gluten-free porridge oats
220ml rice milk
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar
A few flaked almonds to sprinkle
Place the porridge oats in a small, heavy-based saucepan and add the rice milk.
Stir in the cocoa powder and syrup.
Heat for a couple of minutes on a low heat, stirring regularly. Add the blueberries half-way through cooking time, so they start to burst but don’t lose their shape completely. Bring to the boil briefly and then simmer for another minute or two.
Sprinkle a few extra blueberries and flaked almonds over the top.
*The Coeliac Society’s official advice on adding pure oats to a gluten-free diet can be found here.
Also, any recommendation on any recipes for lactose-intolerant people is more than welcome. We aspire to fill this blog with the most delicious gluten-free recipes from all over the world so any suggestion or recommendation will be warmly accepted. Life can be tough for those people so let us make it easier for them. Would you like to see more gluten-free and/or dairy-free recipes on Pinch of Salt? Let me know in the comments below.
Casa Felix in Buenos Aires is a very special place. Ring the buzzer at a non-descript front door in Chacarita, a quiet residential neighbourhood, and you’ll be ushered into a courtyard that plays home to one of Argentina’s best supper clubs or ‘closed door restaurants’ as the locals call them.
‘Closed door restaurants’ are a well-established feature of the Buenos Aires dining scene – some of them have been running for decades. Casa Felix was started five years ago by Argentine chef, Diego Felix, and his wife Sanra in the open-air courtyard of their apartment.
Casa Felix’s courtyard – open to the stars
The evening begins in the garden, with a cheeky mint and watermelon clerico (a sangria-esque spritzer made with white wine and very popular in Argentina). The herbs and plants in the garden, the portly figs dangling over the courtyard from next door’s garden and the intensely green fruit from Diego’s stout little lime tree form the basis of our dinner. Anyone thinking that Argentine dining is all meat and no veg would be in for a shock at Casa Felix where locally-grown vegetables, whole grains and indigenous South American herbs form the basis of an imaginative menu, inspired by Felix’s travels around the continent.
Out of many cuisines we have in this world, Argentian one is one of the most versatile and delicious cuisines on all seven continents without any doubts about it. They do prefer meat but there is so much more to it besides just meat. Anyone should try that feast for the senses absolutely.
A breeze ripples through the main courtyard as we sit down at a tealight-studded table to the first of five almost-faultless dishes – an addictive morsel of hot, runny Fontina cheese wrapped in Chayote squash leaves and drizzled with syrup.
Causa limena, Casa Felix
Next up is causa limena – a traditional Peruvian cold mashed-potato cake (does that sound grim? It’s not) doused in lime and topped with sauteed oyster mushrooms and a little chilli oil. Delicate, zesty, delicious. (Causa features on the menu of Ceviche, the new Peruvian joint in Soho if you want to try it in the UK.)
The starter-major is a hillock of roasted beetroot, toasted Brazil nuts, leaves from the garden, goat’s cheese and roasted garlic, all drizzled with a sweet Malbec vinaigrette. Then it’s time for a palette cleanser: melon and lemon balm granita.
Our main is a fillet of grilled Patagonian sandperch marinaded with Diego’s take on Mexico’s pipian sauce – smoked salt, cumin, cocoa powder and ground pumpkin seeds. Yes, it’s every bit as lip-smacking as that sounds – I’m going to try giving some Brit fish the pipian treatment soon. The fish is served with black beans, a small dollop of an umami-tastic mole, pine mushrooms and salsa.
Throughout the evening, Diego wanders between the tables, explaining the origins of the dishes and ingredients to attentive, mainly American, diners. He recommends a wine-pairing for each course but we opt for a bottle of Torrontes – a fragrant white from the Salta region in Argentina’s northwest.
Quinoa and fig galette with lavender and honey ice cream, Casa Felix
We end a magical evening with a nutty quinoa and fig galette, topped with a creamy, if a little grainy, lavender and honey ice cream. Wholesome, original, delicious South American food served under the stars? Life doesn’t get much better.