I was pretty resistant to getting a deep-fat fryer, having memories of a hideous beast of a thing that lurked rancidly in the corner of the kitchen in a house-share as a student. Ugh. It was never ever cleaned and it was a bilious yellow with grease.
But the Other Half prevailed and we looked through the Argos catalogue to pick out a suitable fryer. I liked the look of this one, as it matches in with the rest of our chrome/stainless steel and black appliances. It also wasn't white plastic as the evil house-share one had been (originally), so that made me feel better about the whole fryer business.
*** Storage ***
Being the shape and size it is (approx 7" wide by 15" long by 9" high), it fits neatly into my kitchen cupboard when not in use. It is mains-powered and has a cable of about 1 metre, which I wind round the end when I store it. The handle which fits into the food-cage is detachable - you squeeze the sides together to pop it out of the holes, and then I lie it under the overhanging electric section. That way it fits perfectly into the space I have in the cupboard under the sink.
*** Cleaning ***
Out on the kitchen surface, it's rather smart and shiny. It's easy to keep clean. The heating element plus electrical part lifts out of the frame and the tank, so the rest can be cleaned. The brushed stainless steel sides and lid just need to be wiped down and the ceramic tank and food-cage are washable with ordinary household products. It's a simple job to re-assemble after cleaning.
*** In Use ***
In the tank there's a maximum/minimum level for oil: it takes up to 4 litres of oil. You can cook up to 1 and a half kilos of food: I tend to use it mostly for homemade versions of chicken nuggets and chips.
You turn it on at the mains and a pilot light comes on to let you know it is heating. You can adjust the heat of the oil according to what you're cooking, using the dial switch on the top. The marked temperatures on ours have worn off, unfortunately! But for chips you need the hottest setting anyway. Once the right temperature is reached, the pilot light goes out. It doesn't take very long to reach peak temperature, a matter of minutes. I take off the lid and raise the food cage before I start the fryer up.
You lift the food cage with the handle, keep it raised out of the oil by a sturdy hook to one end, plonk in your food and lower the cage into the hot oil, using the handle. Chips don't take very long, while you need to be extra careful with meats that they are cooked through. You can usually tell they're ready when they start to float and acquire a nice, even, golden colour. Obviously it's not an appliance you'd want to leave unattended, as it is open, but it doesn't spit oil (although it may if you overfill it, I imagine).
*** Let's fry tonight ***
I find it a really handy thing to have around the house (the Other Half was right, dagnamit!): very simple to use & clean and produces good results every time. It doesn't take up a lot of space.
I've had no problems with it at all and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, smart, domestic deep-fat fryer.
It's available from Amazon at £29.99, which is a pretty good price. I think we paid more when we bought it from Argos a year or two back.
Product details (as available from Amazon):
* Family sized 4 L deep fat fryer
* Professional brushed stainless steel finish
* Adjustable thermostat temperature control for frying different food types
* Easy clean removable enamel bowl
* 1.5 kg food capacity and 2.2 kW power
* Brushed Stainless Steel
* Enamel Tank
* 1.5 kg Food Capacity
* Pilot Light
* 4 L Oil Capacity
Short name: Russell Hobbs 11772