Whats the big deal with chips?

6. April 2012 11:02 by Foodshack in Food News  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)
Chips come in many shapes and sizes from the skinny kind you find in fast food restaurants like KFC, McDonalds and Burger King to the fat tasty ones smothered in salt and vinegar from your local chip shop, chips are a British favorite that few can do without.
There are quote a few ways of cooking chips in our technology focused world.  Of course there is the good old fashioned way of deep fat frying which is now being brought into the present with the development of air fryers which claim to be healthier and only use one spoonful of oil.  Then there are microwave chips and oven chips,  we use oven chips all the time due to them being convenient but still prefer our occasional fish and chip dinner from the local chippy.

Have you ever wondered why you ask for vinegar in the chip shop but prefer ketchup with chips from KFC, McDonalds or Burger King?  Research suggests that the condiments used with each type of chip is all down to the texture and size of the chip.  For instance French fries will absorb large amounts vinegar which will make them soggy. Chip shop chips are more resilient to the effects of vinegar due to their larger surface area, which helps to keep them crisp.

A recent study into the effects in eating chips  (yes someone actually did this!) suggests that the natural cannabis-like chemicals that drive our lust for junk food is activated when we eat chips. The fats chips trigger a surprising biological mechanism that likely drives our gluttonous behaviour.

Chip Facts & Figures

  • For chips prepared in the home, nearly 60% are oven baked, over a third are
    fried and 3% come out of the microwave. 
  • Friday is the most popular day of the week for eating chips, with around a fifth
    of the chips eaten then.
  • A recent survey confirmed that 87% of the population love chips! 
  • More than half a billion meals containing homemade chips are eaten each year. 
  • In one year we eat nearly three billion meals containing chips. 
  • We eat 300 million portions of fish and chips in Britain each year.
  • There are more than 10,000 fish and chip shops in the UK. 
  • Nearly 200 million chip meals are sold in fish and chip shops each year. 
  • Fish and chips outsell Indian takeaways by two to one.

Chip Trivia

  • A 2011 survey showed that fans of wedges are most likely to dip them in barbecue sauce, and ketchup is most popular with those who prefer oven chips and French fries. 
  • Chris Verschueren, from Kastel, Belgium holds the world record for the longest French Fries cooking marathon. He cooked for 83 hours, serving 15,000 portions of chips.  
  • In the 1860s the first fish and chip shop was reported to be opened in London by Joseph Malin, however, it was also claimed that premises near Mossley, near 
  • Oldham in Lancashire, was also the first fish and chip shop.  
  • A quarter of all potatoes grown in Britain are made into chips – that’s around 1.5 million tonnes each year, or nearly the same weight as 125,000 full double decker buses. 
  • The record number of chip portions sold in a fish & chip shop in one day was 4,000.  
  • The chips eaten in Great Britain each year come from potatoes weighing the equivalent of nearly 2.9 million Formula 1 cars.  Laid end to end, those chips would take you around Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit over 1.5 million times – equivalent to more than 26,000 British Grand Prix’s. 
  • During the Second World War, chips were one of the few foods that weren’t rationed. 
  • The world’s largest fish and chip portion was made in July 2011 at the Wensleydale Heifer.

Whether its straight, chunky, crinkly or wedges, Britain just can’t get enough of the delicious potato delight.

The Daily Mail
Why we love chips: The natural cannabis-like chemicals that drive our lust for junk food
Why vinegar's had its chips with flimsy fries: Texture is one of the main indicators of food we like

National Chip Week

Breville VDF065 Halo Health Fryer better than the Tefal ActiFry?

1. April 2012 17:35 by Foodshack in Kitchen Gadgets  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (0)



When we first created Foodshack, our very first product review was for the Tefal ActiFry FZ700215 Low Fat Electric Fryer and we loved it. So you can imagine how excited we got when the Breville VDF065 Halo Health Fryer was launched.  Sadly in our opinion the Actifry is the better air fryer and are unable to give the Breville the same glowing review.

On first look the Breville VDF065 Halo Health Fryer is better than the Actifry as you can cook a lot more in the Breville. Cooking cooking chips can be far from perfect due to a large percentage of them get damaged by the rotating arm when cooking, also the cooking time is a lot slower than you might expect, for example chips can take up to 35 minutes to cook.  The Halogen lamp helps the Halo get hot quickly and the paddle turns them to help them get crispy but can be a little aggressive.  The fryer also comes with a handy roasting rack for fish and chicken and works well.  An advantage when using the Breville & the Actifry to cook chips and other fried foods at home is that your home will not smell of fried food.

Another great advantage is that the bowl also turns. Because the fryer uses halogen lamps, it lights up the inside so you can see how things are cooking, which is not as simple with the Actifry.

Even if you are on a Weight Watchers or Slimming World diet, you can still enjoy chips and other fried food when you use the Halo Health Fryer as you only need a spoon of oil you can cook 1 kg of chips.

The instruction manual includes a selection of recipes, as the fryer cooks a lot more than chips. There are recipes for making various fish dishes, baked potatoes,  crème brûlée and baked apples with butterscotch sauce. 

The Halo Health Fryer looks and sounds very high tec however it is simple to setup and use. It is quite shallow and we cannot see how it could be used for baking scones, buns as you may well be able to do in a Halogen oven. The Halo only has one heat setting, so it is impossible to vary the cooking temperature and you can only vary the cooking time. On a positive note stays cool on the outside and is probably safer to use than a basic halogen oven.

So what do we think? Well if you are looking for something to just fry chips and wedges then we would still use our trusty Actifry. If you have little space in your kitchen and are looking for a fryer & a halogen oven then the Breville VDF065 Halo Health Fryer is for you!

Technical Details

  • Requires only one spoon of oil--99.5% less than a 3L standard fryer
  • Removable paddle and unique non-stick rotating bowl give food constant movement. Rotates and turns the ingredients for even browning and crispy results
  • Use with or without the paddle to fry, cook, bake, sauté and roast
  • Double action cooking method: fan-assisted convection and radiated heat sources, with halogen heating element for instant heat up, means there's no need to preheat
  • Includes reversible roasting rack to cook delicate items such as fish, measuring spoon and cooking guide with recipes




Philips AirFryer Oil-Free Fryer is a healthy frying solution

29. February 2012 20:34 by Foodshack in Diet, Kitchen Gadgets  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)


Are you looking for a low fat way of frying? If you are then the AirFryer from Philips will exceed your expectations. The AirFryer is perfect for cooking chips, wedges, fish and even garlic mushrooms in as little or no oil at all, without losing their great taste and are fresh and healthy.

The Philips AirFryer could not simpler to setup and comes with an easy quick start guide which is descriptive and well laid out. The whole thing can be out of the box, washed and set up ready for use in less than 20 minutes.

If you are dubious about the fryer then do not fear, as claims that frying can now be done in a healthily way are now true. This is down to the fact that this an 'air fryer' is a technology that superheats air and allows the use of minimal amounts of oil or in some cases none at all.

The AirFryer is not small and it is a reasonable weight. However it is built to a very high quality and standard and will look great in the corner of any kitchen.

The AirFryer comes with an inspiring recipe booklet, written by a culinary expert and contains 30 easy-to-prepare recipes and is packed with tips and tricks. Treat you and your family with home-made chicken nuggets, fish cakes, tapas, quiche and lots more.

The 'drawer' pulls out and contains the food basket. The main body of the machine houses the fans and heater etc. The fryer is fitted with a filter that help to reduce the smell when cooking. The basket section is completely washable and even dishwasher safe. The main body can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.

This innovative oil-free fryer has been approved the Good Housekeeping Institute's consumer testing team, who described the AirFryer as a "versatile and easy-to-use appliance which is ideal for low-fat cooking".

Enjoy family favourites guilt free any day of the week without the hassle, but all the taste. With the Philips AirFryer, fried foods are more healthy, delicious and simple than ever.


Use up to 80% less fat than a conventional fryer for the best-tasting chips, without the oil (for fresh chips add half a tablespoon of oil for extra taste)

Fully-adjustable temperature control allows you to pre-set the best cooking temperature for your food

Its integrated timer allows you to pre-set cooking times of up to 30 minutes. The auto-off function includes a "ready" sound indicator

Comes with an inspiring recipe booklet, written by a culinary expert, that contains 30 delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes including brownies and quiches

Integrated air filter keeps your kitchen fresh and clean while the removable drawer and food basket feature a non-stick coating and are dishwasher-safe