Gourmia GTA2500 Electric Roaster and Air Fryer Review

Gourmia GTA2500 air fryerLike most people, I love all kinds of fried food. But I realize that these are extremely unhealthy. A few years back, there was no healthier alternative to these types of food but the creation of the air fryer has made it possible to achieve that same taste and same flavor associated with fried foods but without using oil.

The Gourmia GTA2500 Electric Roaster and Air Fryer is one such unit that claims to make perfect fried food that is far healthier than the food that is made in a standard deep fat fryer. As the name suggests, this is a multi-purpose device that is capable of roasting foods as well. I was offered the chance to test this and this is the reason that I have written this in-depth air fryer review. Let’s take a look whether the Gourmia GTA2500 stakes its claim for a place on my kitchen countertop.

This air fryer looks quite unique due to the sturdy and bulky design that has dome shape at the top. On the front, there is a control panel that includes the timer and temperature along with all kinds of settings. This means that you will have full control of the conditions that you wish to cook under.

The exterior of the unit is made from plastic but again it seems quite heavy and well built. When you take a closer look at the settings on the front, you’ll notice that there are separate buttons for rotation and defrosting settings. Furthermore, there are pre-set buttons for roasting and baking too. This further consolidates the claim that this is a multipurpose device that will be of more use to you than anything else that you’ve bought for the kitchen. Various air fryer reviews on the Internet show just how important this device has become over the last few years.

The idea behind the operation of the machine involves the use of a halogen bulb. This is fixated in the lid and this usually locks when the unit is activated for cooking. Once activated, hot air is produced from this cooking element in the lid and smothers the food and cooks it from all sides.

During the process, the interior lights will turn on and allow you to see how the food is progressing. Once this process is completed and the food is cooked, an alarm rings to let you know that the food is ready. I first tested this with French fries that I cut into shape myself. This meant that I wasn’t using any frozen products. I literally got a potato, sliced it up and added all the necessary ingredients like some salt and a tiny bit of olive oil.

After cooking within the included baking cage for about 25 minutes, I had the chance to eat French fries that were golden in color. Some of these were on the soft side while others were quite crunchy. The results were impressive enough as I literally had to turn this air fryer on and wait for the food to be ready. The baking cage I used rotated around so there was no need to flip the fries.

However, the results in general were quite similar to a normal oven in terms of the speed of the process and the taste at the end. But again, if you cook French fries in the oven, it will be associated with more hassle because you’ll have to flip the fries halfway through the process.

So my conclusion after testing out this unit was that it isn’t quite as good as some of the other air fryers around. It performs very similar to a standard oven and takes a similar amount of time as well. If you read a detailed Philips air fryer review, you’ll find that this unit is a lot better and a lot more versatile.

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A conversation, a calendar & a great bottom-of-the-barrel recipe

So yesterday, I don’t remember how the conversation turned to the $5 left in my wallet, but nevertheless it did and my husband turned to me and said, “Are we really that bad off right now?”

I was kind of hoping he’d ask and not the least bit surprised, so I was pleased that it gave me a chance to explain to him that no, it’s not that, I’m just trying to be strict with the money because otherwise a little extra here and a little leeway there turns into this big snowball effect and I end up not managing our money wisely.

Delicious FrittataWe spoke a bit more, about ways to save, his first inkling being to take a part-time job on the weekends, and I tried to reiterate that that isn’t the point — the point is to do better with what we have, to continue spending time together as a family and to communicate more about these issues. I want him to feel included. I appreciate his input. I can’t take all the responsibility by myself sometimes, nor do I want to.

It was refreshing and reassuring, and tomorrow being the start of the month makes the timing all the more essential.

One of the examples I gave him about saving not having to be sacrificing was this want I had for a dry-erase calendar (with room for notes) to hang on the fridge. I have about three calendars going at all times, which may not be very efficient, but I don’t like to mix work and play, and I don’t really think tacking my bills up on the fridge with magnets will do the trick either. So this one had to be for things like errands I need to run when, cleaning chores I need to do by day/week, reminders to hit the ATM on Thursdays for the nanny, etc. There’s one style on there I particularly like, so I printed one out for August and hit the ground running. Change doesn’t have to feel like sacrifice, I told the husband. You can’t get nervous or tense just because we ran out of puffs for the baby and he’s turning his nose up at bananas but we have no strawberries right now. He’s not starving! We’re fine! We just need to stop overspending, and perhaps a little of my enthusiasm can rub off on him so that we’re both enjoying finding creative ways to save AND spend more time together, appreciating what we have instead of feeling the lack of something we don’t.

By the same token, I was determined to show the family that our meager fridge remnants didn’t mean a sad, sorry dinner! With half a dozen eggs, two sweet potatoes and some thyme from my pathetic salmon cakes, I made a delicious frittata, which we enjoyed with some organic local Lacinato kale chips and a glass of red wine. Although for some reason the baby didn’t even want to try the sweet potatoes, we enjoyed it thoroughly and there’s even a quarter left over for lunch today. I have plans for tomorrow already in terms of picking up what I need at a discount (allergy medicine and coffee, for one), and altogether these advances make me feel like things are looking up.

Happy Sunday! Hope your weekend wraps up nicely.

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A Review of the Cuisinart Toaster Oven

When you’re looking for a nice attractive toaster oven you can’t do much better than a Cuisinart toaster oven. They have a whole line up of attractive, technologically superior, solid toaster ovens. Many of them have a convection option and can fit a whole 12-inch pizza in them.

Most of the current Cuisinart toaster ovens are stainless steel though some of them are made from different materials and colors, like the standard black and white. You’ll also find the interior surfaces of the ovens have a non-stick coating for easy cleanup.

Cuisinart toaster oven reviewThe best Cuisinart toaster oven out there is the TOB-195. It’s more expensive than some of their other models but the price is well worth the amazing features you get. The TOB-195 has an exact heat feature that maintains a precise temperature in the oven at all times.

The TOB-195 provides high level user interface and extremely flexible options for cooking and warming food. This includes things like baking foods or making pizza, toasting bread, and using the convection setting. In simple terms, it utilizes the latest technology with features that are very easy to use.

Furthermore, you will be able to toast 4 to 6 slices of bread at one time alongside a bagel if you want to. This feature also includes defrost settings and a timer for the oven. And the controls are really nifty. A lot of small kitchen appliances are come with controls like them these days but I still think they’re very futuristic.

When it comes to the user interface, the controls are very easy to notice and function. In these times, an oven that comes with an LCD display is necessary. A lot of similar products that are affordable can have a manual user interface but it is highly disadvantageous especially given the technology that’s out these days.

This Cuisinart convection toaster oven is just top of the line. Using the convection feature really speeds up cooking. I can fit a whole chicken in it and when I put it in convection mode a chicken will cook in just more than a half hour. It’s awesome. I sometimes will put in two Cornish game hens and they cook up even faster.

Another thing we use our Cuisinart toaster oven for is brownies. You can easily fit a 9×9 pan in it and it heats up so much faster than our regular oven that it just makes sense to use it for anything that will fit in it. My husband has a great brownie recipe and she uses our toaster oven to make them all the time. Probably too much. I could stand to lose a few pounds. While this is a great appliance, I like to use my Gourmia air fryer whenever I can.

 

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Potato, Cauliflower & Chickpea Tagine with Olives & Preserved Lemon

Potato, Cauliflower & Chickpea Tagine with Olives & Preserved Lemon  

November is always a hectic time of year for us – travelling, shopping, family events, loads of cooking and of course eating. We spent a week farm-sitting for my Aunt and Uncle with no Internet access or mobile phone reception. It was bliss but needless to say, when we returned to the real world, there were hundreds of emails and other technology-reliant tasks needing our attention. I have finally caught up and I’m super excited to start the New Year with this sensation tagine recipe.

Tagine dishes can be quite nice if cooked properly.I bought my tagine from a second hand store a few months ago, and I totally love it! I was a little hesitant to use it at first, learning that many tagines from overseas countries are prepared with lead based paints. Luckily, mine was made in Portugal and I have confirmed that it is completely safe to cook with – phew!

Before using your tagine for the first time it must be seasoned. To do this, submerge it in milk for at least one hour, then rinse, dry and rub the inside of the base and lid with olive oil. Put the tagine into a cold oven, set the temperature to 150°c and leave it for two hours. Remove the tagine from the oven and leave to cool. When it is completely cool, wash in warm soapy water – your tagine is now ready to use.

Back in early December, I attempted to make preserved lemons for the first time. I am happy to say they were a success and are the inspiration for this recipe. You can serve this dish with rice or couscous, and it is absolutely delicious when topped with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt and fresh parsley.

Potato, Cauliflower & Chickpea Tagine with Olives & Preserved Lemons

Ingredients (2 Servings)

  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & crushed
  • ½ kilo new baby potatoes, washed (skin on) and cut in half
  • ½ a head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 420gm tin diced tomatoes
  • 420gm tin chickpeas, drained
  • ¼ cup green olives
  • ½ a preserved lemon, sliced (pith removed)
  • ½ cup dates
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

If you are new to tagine cooking, heed my warning. Do not place your tagine directly onto a hotplate. It will crack and you will end up with a big mess all over your stovetop. Tagines are meant to be cooked over a slow flame, and I don’t have a gas cooktop so I just use our camp cooker or the grill side of the BBQ.

Place your tagine onto an open flame on a low to medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add spices and potatoes and toss the potatoes gently until they are evenly coated. Add the tomatoes and place the lid onto the tagine, cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid of the tagine (use a tea towel so as not to burn yourself) and add cauliflower, chickpeas, olives, preserved lemon and dates. Replace the lid and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.

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Raw Chocolate Orange & Cardamom Truffles

In late 2015, I discovered raw food. I set myself a challenge to eat raw for 30 days but didn’t complete it – I only lasted 10 days. I was really disappointed in myself at the time but I now know that moving from a normal diet to a raw vegan diet overnight is not easy. It is just like any other lifestyle change, something you must do gradually.

I have read many articles written by raw foodies, all of who took a long time to transition from a normal diet to a raw vegan diet, and although I know I could never be exclusively raw, I love the idea of having a 50% raw diet.

I have been experimenting with raw foods now for some time, and this year plan to post many new raw recipes that I am super excited about! This recipe is my first attempt at my very own original raw recipe. These little balls of goodness are delicious, and are very simple to make. Many raw recipes call for ingredients that aren’t in the average household pantry or fridge, but I am confident that most of you will have these ingredients on hand (maybe with the exception of cacao powder, which you can pick up from your local health food shop).

Raw Choc-Orange & Cardamom Truffles

Ingredients (makes 10)

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup almonds
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 10 extra almonds
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt (optional)

Steps

Place dates into a bowl and pour over orange juice, soak for 30 minutes. Remove seeds from cardamom pods and grind into a find powder using a mortar and pestle. Put nuts into a food processor and process into a find powder then add dates, orange zest, scrapings from vanilla pod, cacao powder, cardamom spice, sea salt and chia seeds.

Gently pulse processor until all of the ingredients are combined. If the mixture gets to sticky or bulky for the processor to mix, transfer to a bowl and use a wooden spoon, or better yet – your fingers!

Take 1 tablespoon of the mixture, place and almond in the center and roll into a ball, gently roll in cacao powder until coated. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.

This dessert combined with this yummy frittata would be the perfect meal if you were staying in for the night.

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Buying a Commercial Mixer for Baking

Here are a few tips on the in’s and out’s of buying a commercial mixer. There are basically three types of mixers that I will touch on and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each. The three I will be discussing today are the Stick Mixers, Countertop Mixers, and the Floor Mixers.

  1. Commercial mixers for bakingStick Mixers: These are great for liquefying. They work well for soups, sauces, and pureeing fruits and veggies. They do vary in price greatly as one of these can cost you anywhere from $100 to over $1,000. It all depends on the quality, size and what you are using them for.
  2. Countertop Mixers: This is the most common type of mixer and you will find it in all kinds of places, from the kitchen at Mom’s house to the pizzeria downtown. They can be used to make pizza, bread, doughnuts, pastries, all kinds of desserts, potatoes and just about anything you can mix. They also vary in size and price. For small sized machines under $150, I would recommend a KitchenAid branded product. They deliver a top quality mixer, and their large countertop mixers can go up to $10,000+. These would be best suited for businesses that will be using it daily.
  3. Floor Mixers: These also vary in range and the large ones are big enough to fit a grown adult into the mixing bowl! They are used more for high volume baking. Bakeries, pizzerias, Deli’s and any type of business involved in mass food production should look into buying one of these. Do your research thoroughly before buying one though as these are costly machines. Also, if it is too large, your investment may not pan out, but if it is too small, then you might get yourself stuck between dough and a bad place! Sometimes, one batch from a large mixer is enough to cook an entire day’s worth of food in smaller restaurants. So, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. The prices for these floor mixers can range from $3,000 to $25,000.

Many great deals can be found online, but do your research. That’s definitely the best way to get a top quality commercial mixer because there are some brands that just aren’t as good as the others.

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