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halogen oven

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    My friend bought me a halogen oven today.  (My oven is not good so I always go to my mum's to use her oven for baking)  Whilst this was very generous and kind of him, I have no idea what to do with the thing- I have no idea where I will store it for a start!  Anyway, the question is, has anyone used one of these contraptions for baking?  Is it worth unwrapping it?  I do appreciate that this sounds ungrateful and rude, and this isn't what I intend.  I just hate people wasting money.

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    Mum has a halogen oven...and absolutely loves it...think me and slowcookers and then double the passion!

    She does loads of baking in it. The only 'problem' is that it is limited in size. She does two smaller cakes rather than one big one. Most of her Christmas baking was done in the halogen.

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     My Dad got one and hardly used it, it now lies in the cupboard with all his other clutter and useless gadgets. Perhaps Bethannie's Mum was more imaginative with it.

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    InkyP
     My Dad got one and hardly used it, it now lies in the cupboard with all his other clutter and useless gadgets.

    Inky, that's exactly what I fear will happen to this one.  I haven't really got room for it, neither for storing it nor for using it.  And washing the flipping thing doesn't appeal either.  My proper oven is out of sight, out of mind, but this big glass monstrosity couldn't sit about being greasy in the way the oven could. The dimensions of it are limiting also- ciscular is not ideal for baking trays etc.  I need someone on here to tell me why I need one so that I can tell my friend how useful it is! (Although the elephant shaped popcirn maker he once gave me never made it out of the box before I "recycled" it.  As I said before, he's a very kind and generous friend.

    But- Beth- the manual says that it cooks a whole roast chicken in 35 mins. Is this right?

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    I bought one for a friend - just got his first flat and can't afford a propper cooker so he has this and a plug-in hotplate.

     

    He is using it mainly to make toad in the hole - cooked in cake tins. He says it cooks much more quickly than the oven at my place. 

     

     

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    Beth- can you please ask your mum about timings for roasting a chicken for me?  And can you ask her if it is poss to do decent roasties alongside a chicken by bunging them in round the sides?

    Still haven't used the oven- have found that if I sit it on my worktops, I can't take the lid off as the overhead cupboards are too close...and since you need to take the (hot) top off and lay it down on a heatproof surface I'm struggling to find somewhere to put it.  You will have gathered I have a pretty small kitchen.

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    Totally love mine, maybe because my oven takes half an hour to get to temperature, but also, because a lot of foods cook better in it.  Chicken: I think it still takes an hour, but it is gorgeous and succulent and crispy skinned.  And roast potatoes have a crust like glass: but there is not enough room for both.  I do bake in mine because I can do things on the spur of the moment without having to wait for my oven to heat up (for instance, a friend rang yesterday to say she was coming over and I made Nigella's 'cheesy feet' by the time she arrived).

     I think it is not the 'be all and end all' but the advantages are

    1) Savings on electricity, both in pre-heat time and in electricity consumption

    2) Gets much hotter than my oven: I do kebabs and 'tandoori style' chicken and they are moist yet crisp, in fact anything that needs crisping does very well in it

    3) Further to above, it cooks some things better than in a normal oven (but this depends on your own oven/aga)

     Disadvantages:

    1) Space: because I use mine nearly every day, it has to be out on the worktop, and I don't have a lot of space spare

    2) You can't fit a lot in and a lot of my bakeware is not the right shape

    3) You need to buy a cookbook to get the best out of the halogen (I never think having to buy another cookbook is a true disadvantage though.......!)

    4) I think cakes are better in a proper oven, though I will still do them in the halogen if I am short of time.

     

    I was very sceptical before I opened the box and got it out (mine was a present from an enthusiastic, too) and I thought it was just for people who need to reheat ready meals, but I have found mine invaluable.  We had a home-made lasagne straight from the freezer yesterday, jacket potatoes in it today, and tomorrow we are having smoked haddock florentine. 

     

    Hope this helps.

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    Thank you very much Yallop for that very helpful post.  How long would you do roasties for and do you do them in a tray as normal or bung them in?  I am going to try a chicken in it at the weekend when C is home.  Would I be able to bung in foil wrapped baking potatoes round the sides of the chicken or would that hamper cooking?  And how long do you bake potatoes in it for?  With or without foil? 

     

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    I have been reading the posts about halogen ovens with interest and was wondering if they would be a suitable replacement for a microwave or if the purpose is completely different? The roasties sound good. Do they do jacket potatoes well? 

    Sorry if the questions are silly I had not heard of them before reading this thread!

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    Well, I did a roast chicken (stuffed with lemon and thyme stuffing) and roast potatoes in the halogen oven today.  It took a lot longe than the manual said: the manual recommended 35-45 mins for a whole stuffed chicken wheras mine took 75 mins!  I put my roasties round the bird 25 mins into cooking time and they were ok, but not that crispy (may have been because I was using vivaldis instead of my usual roasting potatoes of choice so will give them another shot). 

    The oven itself was not as much of a pain to clean as I had anticipated, though I really did miss having the juices and crispy bits for my gravy.

    All in all, I think I will just use my (rubbish) ordinary oven in future, as the halogen only saved me 15 mins and was more faff, but I will try it again to see if I change my mind.  The main problem is space: where to store it and where to put it when operating so that it is not a child hazard or using up my limited kitchen space.

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    Hi Palestpink: the halogen oven wouldn't be a replacement for a microwave, its function is much different.  It is a slightly speedier, worktop taking up oven replacement but nowhere near as quick as a micowave and I certainly wouldn't be lugging it out to heat up some soup or defrost anything.

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    Thanks Si for the helpful reply. Halogen cooking seems an interesting concept but I think I probably do not need any more gadgets at the moment and certainly not ones which take up lots of space!

    PP

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    A halogen is certainly not a relacemnt for a microwave.

    Mum keeps her halogen out permanently - it is used at least every other day! The microwave is used for things like porridge, or a mug of coffee or reheating soup....the halogen is used for cooking a piece of fish or chicken (plus veggies) - and for baking.

    It seems to suit mum as a single person - I don;t know how practical it would be for a large family....although Mum used it for Christmas dinner.

    Also, I personally can't use one. The lid part is far too heavy for me to lift safely - especially when it is hot!

     

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    I found the where-to-put-the-lid while checking food tricky...it's so hot I didn't want to ut it on the worktop and was so mindful of the fact that the power cable runs from the lid so you need to be careful not to touch that either...

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    Si N. Tiffick
    How long would you do roasties for and do you do them in a tray as normal or bung them in?  I am going to try a chicken in it at the weekend when C is home.  Would I be able to bung in foil wrapped baking potatoes round the sides of the chicken or would that hamper cooking?  And how long do you bake potatoes in it for?  With or without foil? 

     

    Roasties: parboiled, then either on a tray or balanced on the rungs which makes them far crispier.  Takes about 45 mins and are really, really crispy, as long as they are not crowded together.'Yes' to the bunging in potatoes around the chicken, it is what I often do, but they are not crispy.   They pick up the juices and aroma of the chicken though, so they are still yummy but in a different way.  As for jacket potatoes, from scratch, they are supposed to take 40-45 mins, but I actually start them in the microwave and then do half an hour in the halogen and you would never know that they had been near a microwave.  I don't use foil but that's probably due to laziness!

     Tonight I put in chicken pieces that had been marinated overnight in garlic/ginger/lime/chilli/spices and they cooked in under 15 minutes on the top rack, no tray, (I had a faculty meeting and my kids were starving when I got home so I needed something very very quick)  and we ate it with paninis toasted in the halogen.  

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    So what is the advantage of a halagen cooker?

    My tatties are ready in 45 mins in a normal oven,

    Chicken pieces wouldn't take longer than in a halogen oven either.

    What am I missing? (I am not buying one, I have nowhere to put one - or rather, I am not prepared to find space for one).

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    Yallop: Thank you very much for the timings!

     

    CQ: I don't think you are missing anything.  My friend bought me one because I have an aged decrepit oven which cooks poorly (I have to turn a chicken several times during cooking otherwise it cooks on top and remains pretty much raw underneath!)  I am going to give it another shot but I remain unconvinced of its usefulness. Certainly if I had a proper cooker, I wouldn't even consider it.

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     I was wondering whether to get one for the awning of our caravan.  Our electrics are paid on a fixed daily rate and I miss having an oven. 

    Why don't you get the juices from a roast chicken,  as one poster mentioned?

    Do all halogen ovens have heavy,  ultra-hot lids? 

     

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    celticqueen
    So what is the advantage of a halagen cooker?

     

    For me, the major advantage is that I have an oven that takes an absolute age (30 mins ish)  to pre-heat, plus I have a hubby that demands(!)  tea on the table for 6.00pm, so it means cooking proper meals after getting home from school is a bit more do-able.  If you've got an Aga or a decent oven which gets to good temperature, you're not missing out!  But the second advantage for me, is that some foods just cook better in it.  I no longer suffer from soggy bottoms on my pastry, because the halogen is far better than my oven at gettting food crispy whilst still succulent. I once did a huge batch of profiteroles and needed space in both my normal oven and the halogen oven and the ones in the halogen  puffed up considerably more. 

    With regards to caravans, my step-mother in law has two halogens, one for home and one for her caravan.  The caravan has gas cylinders which have to be paid for separately, but the electricity is included with the site fees, so she does as much as she can in the halogen.  She gets fantastically crisp bacon (which I don't eat so can't comment on) but things like croissants and bread rolls heat up in minutes and you wouldn't necessarily want to heat up a whole oven for a couple of rolls.

    I've also dragged my machine to my Mum's for things like Eid when she caters for lots of people and doesn't have oven/hob space for everything.  And once again, it's better for the'crispy stuff' and things like kebabs

    I do think they take up an awful lot of space, I don't think they are nearly as quick as they claim and I can see why they would not suit everyone,  but it really works for me!

     

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    inky

    Why don't you get the juices from a roast chicken,  as one poster mentioned?

    The chicken cooks on a wire rack so that the air can circulate round it, so you don't get the yummy crispy bits that get stuck to the tray and make good gravy.  Any juices are kind of lost to the oven floor.

    inky
    Do all halogen ovens have heavy,  ultra-hot lids? 

    Yes, the heating bulb and fan unit is in the lid. The whole thing is basically, a big, heavy glass (not pyrex (important if you want to fling it in the sink- though you'd need a very big sink) bucket with a hot bulb and fan in the lid.
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