After his mother-in-law kept telling him how great her halogen oven was, Brian Stormont wanted to find out for himself.
Now, I know many of you will have read that headline and wondered “What’s a halogen oven?” because, I will be honest, I didn’t know either until recently.
My mother-in-law had championed the halogen oven for a long time and I thought it was time to see what all the fuss was about.
A quick dip into eBay and I had one ordered, although, for £39, I wasn’t convinced what this bowl-like cooker was going to add to my kitchen.
A lot, it turned out.
Cooking by using convection, the halogen oven uses infrared technology to cook your food which it does up to 60% quicker than a conventional oven.
It uses less energy than your normal household oven, cooks food that tastes like it has been cooked in the normal way, but almost as fast as a microwave – and without the cold spots that you can sometimes get with a micro.
Joy in its simplicity
One thing I will warn you of if when you unbox your halogen, you’ll be pretty unimpressed – it’s a giant glass bowl that fits into a stand with a lid that has a fan and temperature / timer built in.
You will be underwhelmed, I fully admit I was, but the joy of the halogen oven is its simplicity. It wins nothing in an appearance contest, but it is easy to use and gives great results.
A portable low-cost device, the halogen oven roasts, bakes, grills, cooks, steams and defrosts – you can have my word on it I’ve done it all.
Top five halogen oven facts
- It’s fast
- It is so versatile
- It was cheap to buy
- You can watch your food cook
- Best of all – it is self-cleaning
In my house, the halogen oven is on almost every night mainly because it is so convenient.
For instance, we rarely cook oven chips in the house these days. All we need to ensure is that we have plenty of potatoes or sweet potatoes as the halogen can cook these in around 20 minutes and they are as close as you’ll get to proper chips without deep frying.
You simply cut your potatoes into chip shapes, coat in a tablespoon of oil and some salt and pepper, lay them on the wire rack provided when you purchase the oven and 20 minutes later you have delicious chips.
I have roasted a chicken in my halogen, steamed fish, baked potatoes and grilled bacon, but the biggest discovery I made was cooking Indian-style tikka or tandoori.
Indian cooking uses a tandoor which can achieve really high temperatures that are perfect for cooking tandoori dishes.
While the halogen oven has the ability to cook quickly, it also has a high temperature – mine can go as high as 250c.
I have cooked tandoori in my conventional oven, it was alright but lacked the required temperature for authenticity; and my grill right up to full whack – almost burnt the house down, but that’s another story.
However, by marinating my lamb in amazing spices and yoghurt for 36 hours and then cooking in my halogen for 15-20 minutes, I had amazing, tender lamb tikka which tasted just like the real thing – even with the dark burnt bits on the edges!
And to be honest that is one of the things that prompted me to write this article because I have completely fallen in love with my halogen oven, yet it seems to be one of the home appliance industry’s best-kept secrets.
If you want to add something to your kitchen that you will really benefit from without spending a fortune, then in my opinion you simply cannot go wrong.