Step into any cookshop and you will find many halogen ovens on the shelves, all doing pretty much the same thing, at roughly the same price and to be honest, they all look pretty similar too. But look "under the bonnet" so to speak and you will find there are differences between them. I have used many halogen ovens over the years and I have to say that the Visicook 2015 version is worth serious consideration.
This compact machine will roast, bake, fry, grill and defrost simply by using a halogen bulb and fan technology to cook your most favourite of dishes in two thirds of the time. Less energy is used, less time cooking, more time to eat and enjoy and pocket your savings!
I have already road tested the VisiCook Airchef and was impressed then by the innovative design and quality so I was expecting the same from this little beauty - and was not disappointed.
2015 brought new EEC regulations into play and manufacturers of halogen ovens must conform with these laws. The company immediately grasped the nettle and made the changes as the main one relates to consumer safety. I don't agree with everything dear Brussels throws at us but I do agree when safety in the kitchen and home is concerned - so bring it on.
To explain, in the past the glass bowl, the main cooking area of the oven, has sat in a metal cradle but the problem is that glass gets very hot and if not used with care, can result in burns. The new regulation says that exposed glass or metal surfaces where heat exceeds 120°C will be outlawed come 2018. So Team have now introduced a cool-surround encasement bowl so that more of the heat remains on the inside of the bowl and not where it can cause injury.
The main removeable borasillica glass bowl now sits inside the casement area within the outer cradle. The designers have built it so that there is a small gap left between the glass bowl and the casement which traps the heat in, so is it a brilliant safety feature. And being a clear bowl, you can still see into the oven and watch your food cooking, just as before.
The Visicook package includes a metal extender ring which you use when you are baking or just need more "head space" within the oven, for example if you are cooking large joints of meat or poultry or are baking bread or cakes. The ring lifts the halogen heat emanating from the bulb higher so that you don't burn the top of whatever is cooking. The ring has not escaped the new EEC regulations either as being metal, can burn when hot so Team have dealt with this too by adding a heat resistant silicone cover which surrounds the whole ring. You will still have to be sensible and take precautions using oven gloves to remove it but the heat is a great deal less than before.
The photo above shows a bare metal one but if you look at the main picture, you will see the extender ring is wearing a stylish black silicone band around its middle. Safety first and all that!
This brings me neatly onto a third new feature - a unique metal guard that fits over the bulb and not only protects the heater element/bulb but also helps to keep that shiny stainless steel heater guard bright and spanking. You get two unique patented Long-Life guards with your halogen oven and can order replacements direct from their website www.Visicook.com or telephone Customer Services on 0121 693 9221.
The Visicook is simple to use with easy to read and turn knobs for temperature and timing. A lift up handle on the lid makes it easy to remove the lid from the oven safely.
You get all the usual stuff with the oven - racks, instruction book and tongs but you also get some added extras as part of the deal - a pair of lifting tongs, instruction book containing recipe ideas all tried/tested in the UK and money off vouchers for any accessories you may want to order from their website. They even give you a metal lid holder so when you are taking the lid off the oven, rather than trying to find somewhere to put it and risk burning your wooden board or worktop, you simply prop it in the holder. It might not sound exciting but my wife thought it was a brilliant idea, having had halogens before which didn't have this accessory and was always looking around for a safe place to put it, ending up using an old wooden board, just so she had both hands free to lift the cooked food from the oven.
Having examined every bit of the new Visicook, I was eager to try it out and I was not disappointed. I roasted a whole large chicken in an hour and ten minutes (bottom rack using the extender ring), grilled rib eyes steaks in just 12 minutes (high rack) and a baked a lasagne (bottom rack) in just 25 minutes. I made Yorkshire puddings to make my Yorkshire Mother-in-Law proud (bottom rack in individual metal shallow dariol moulds, extender ring on which seems to encourage them to rise and rise. A lemon drizzle cake, bottom rack + extender so my top didn't burn before my cake was cooked..........and the list went on. Excellent performance all round. My halogen ovens tried and tested page is worth taking a look at as it talks about halogen ovens in general and explains more.
And when I had finished all my cooking, I literally let the oven cool down, lifted the bowl out of the casement and gave it a quick spruce up in the sink with a bit of washing up liquid and warm water. However if you are feeling lazy, then use the wash facility! Leaving the bowl in situ, add some water (about half way up), add liquid, replace the lid, turn the knob to wash mode, turn the timer to 10 minutes and off it goes. Just empty the dirty water out after, dry and replace till you are ready to use again.
You can then give the the bulb cover a rub over with a just damp nylon scourer and the interior surround of the lid a lick with a damp cloth - and job done.
The Visicook Halogen Oven 2015 is a fabulous asset to any kitchen, large or small with its 12L spacious bowl, added safety features and bonus accessory pack included. Real value for money and don't forget that being portable, you can take it with you camping or caravanning, as long as you have electric hook up on site! And if you have kids going off to University or college, this will make a useful gift for them and may even encourage them to eat more than beans on toast (though the toast can be done in the halogen too!!)
To see the Visicook in action, take a look at the video below (please note the video is pre-2015 safety addtions) and if you want more useful and general information as to how to use a halogen oven, what it does and to get the best out of your purchase, see my Halogen Oven Cooking - the Facts PDF on the home page, left column.
To order replacement bulbs or accessories from Team, simply give them a call on 0121 693 9221 or go to their website www.Visicook.com