You can’t even open social media these days without coming across a post or video about air-fryer cooking. It seems everyone is in on the hype.
But, aside from your standard fried foods, what can you make with an air fryer – and why is everyone so obsessed with them?
Clare Andrews has gone from home cook to cookbook chef with the help of her air fryer.
"There weren’t many recipes around at the start of my journey, everything was quite beige, but that seems to have changed. Now, people are finding air fryers a low-cost and healthy way to cook," she says.
Andrews was gifted her air fryer during lockdown by her mum.
"Air fryers became huge in lockdown and the cost-of-living crisis is making them more popular," she notes.
We are all increasingly aware of the cost and nutritional value of our food (plus the cost of cooking it), and Andrews believes air fryers could help solve both problems.
"You don’t need to use oil at all. The air fryer still gets food crispy without it, because it cooks at such high heat. As far as money saving goes, you use less energy than a conventional oven."
There is so much experimentation to be done.
"Mine had no instructions, I dived straight in and started experimenting – reheating and freezing things. Then I got more adventurous," she says.
Her number one tip is simple: "Don’t overfill your basket. It won’t be crispy, there’s no point overfilling. Start small."
Here are three of her most exciting air-fryer recipes to try yourself…
1. Biscoff and strawberry tarts
- 270g pack of filo pastry sheets
- 4tbsp Biscoff spread
- 200g strawberries, hulled and quartered
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Carefully unroll your filo pastry, and tear each sheet into six to eight even squares. You don’t need to be too neat with these, as they will be layered up in your silicone moulds.
- Once your pastry is prepared, start to layer the filo sheets into your silicone cupcake cases, like nests. I like to layer three to four sheets in each case.
- Add one teaspoon of Biscoff to the base of each filo cup, then transfer to the air fryer and cook at 180°C for 10 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.
- Once the tart cases are cooked, simply top them with the chopped strawberries, dust with icing sugar and serve.
2. Turkish-style stuffed aubergine with saffron and yoghurt dip
- 1 aubergine, halved lengthways
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1 courgette, roughly chopped
- 1tsp harissa paste
- 1tbsp olive oil
- Olive oil spray, to cook
- 2tbsp pomegranate seeds, to garnish
- A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, picked and chopped, to garnish
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the saffron and yoghurt sauce:
- A pinch of saffron (optional)
- 120ml low-fat Greek yoghurt
- Lay your aubergine halves, cut-side up, on a board and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh to make boat shapes. The aim is to make a well just large enough to hold the other vegetables, so don’t try to remove all of the flesh.
- Roughly chop the scooped-out aubergine flesh, then add to a large bowl along with the chopped red onion, red pepper and courgette.
- Add the harissa paste and olive oil to the bowl with the vegetables, and give everything a good mix to combine, ensuring that all of the vegetables are well coated. Season with salt and pepper and stir again.
- Spoon the vegetable mixture into the hulled aubergine halves, piling them up nice and high to make a generous portion.
- Transfer the filled aubergine boats to the air fryer, spray with a little olive oil and cook at 180°C for 15-20 minutes, until all of the vegetables are tender.
- While the aubergines are cooking, make the saffron dip by soaking the saffron in two tablespoons of boiling water for a couple of minutes, if using. Put the yoghurt in a serving bowl, season with salt and pepper, and pour over the bloomed saffron mixture. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the cooked aubergines to serving plates, and scatter them with pomegranate seeds and fresh coriander, then serve hot, with the saffron and yoghurt sauce alongside.
3. All-in-one weekend brunch
- 1 medium potato, peeled and finely sliced into discs
- 1tsp English mustard powder
- 4tbsp milk
- 100g fresh spinach, washed
- 130g chorizo, diced
- 80g Cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 eggs
- Olive oil, for spraying
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Spray your dish with a little olive oil, then arrange the potato discs in a single layer in the base of the dish. Sprinkle over the mustard powder and pour over the milk.
- Cover the potatoes with the spinach in an even layer, then scatter over the chopped chorizo. Top with the grated Cheddar, then crack both eggs over and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the dish to the air fryer and cook at 180°C for 10-15 minutes, checking every five minutes, until everything is cooked through and the cheese is bubbling. Serve hot.
The Ultimate Air Fryer Cookbook by Clare Andrews is published by Penguin Michael Joseph on February 16.