When the box got delivered came the doubts, not least the box was awfully big! Halogen ovens do take up a wedge of work space in your kitchen or utility area and there’s no getting around that. In fact it seemed so big it nearly went straight back – I’m so pleased that didn’t happen!
You may have heard about just how fast these halogen ovens cook – well it’s true, they cut a good chunk of cooking time off, between a quarter and a third is probably a fair estimate.
Obviously it depends which model you have – they do vary, plus how much has gone into the oven at one time. The reason halogen ovens cook so fast, is the turbo fan which is very powerful and it constantly pushes hot air around the food, so filling the oven is going to increase the cooking time accordingly.
They also have one other massive advantage – you don’t have to add fat to anything, making this one of the healthiest ways to cook your meals. Roasted potatoes are crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, all with no fat. Roasted tomatoes are utterly divine and of course you can add olive oil before cooking – the main point here is that food cooks brilliantly well without it too.
Cleaning is a breeze. A wipe around with a damp cloth for the bowl and lid is all that’s needed if you’ve cooked in dished. If you’ve put everything in the base to cook, a more thorough clean is needed, meaning either carrying to the sink or putting in the dishwasher.
On the downside halogen ovens are quite bulky and although not terribly heavy, may not be suited to those who are frail or suffer from problems with lifting anything. There is also the issue of the lid. The motor, fan and bulb or bulbs are contained in the lid, making it heavy and a bit awkward to manoeuvre, particularly when hot, and these get very hot indeed.
To mitigate this, manufacturers have come up with lid stands which work very well – but not all brands include them, some particularly at the lower price end have them as accessories to be purchased separately, which can take the overall outlay right up.
In order to accommodate a large roast, there is an extender ring included – again, not all of them have it so check. This ring is about 2″ deep and sits on the rim of the glass with the lid on top of it. The extra height means a good sized chicken plus all the vegetables go in at once, enough to feed a family of four and more.
Singles and couples will never need a main oven again, we rarely use our at all, only for mass baking sessions or big family gatherings in the holiday season. Equally if you’ve got a big family and need extra oven space, cooking with halogen ovens is a great way to go, they’ll easily cook a meal to feed a family of four hungry people.
Those who should avoid them, are folks who find lifting a heavy hot lid potentially dangerous – though there is one model with an attached lid to get around this, you still need to take the bowl to the sink or dishwasher occasionally.
If cooking with halogen ovens hasn’t caught on as widely as it might, the bulky nature of them may be partly to blame, because everything else works exceptionally well, including much lower energy bills each quarter.