Sunday, 5 October 2014

Happy with Halogen

The halogen oven, that has answered my question affirmatively about whether I would be able to make bread and cakes once I'd moved into the motorhome, has arrived.  It looks like a spaceship for mice. They wouldn't get very far though as its powered by mains electricity and the lead isn't long enough to get it up above the earth's atmosphere.  'Whoah!' said Louis. 'Now that is cool!' There nothing like a gadget to please a pre-pubescent boy.

After a bit of careful research, the model that I plumped for is the digitally controlled Andrew James 12L premium one with a hinged lid.  I got it for about a tenner cheaper than on the official site by shopping around on Ebay.  It eliminates problems that people had cited on forums around dodgy manual controllers and finding somewhere to put a boiling hot loose fitting lid.   Even though this model seems to be in the Rolls Royce category of halogen ovens at the top end of the price scale, it cost less than fifty quid and has a two year warranty. That's not at all bad in my book.  It came with a range of accessories including racks, a jolly useful cookbook, a spare bulb and a natty little non stick container to cook weird shaped cake in.  We must give that a go with some lemon drizzle very soon.

I've brought the oven into the house so we can test it before adopting our nomadic but largely static lifestyle.   Now there's an oxymoron if ever I've heard one.  Instead of an inaugural trip into outer space for a squeaky crew aided by an infinite series of linked extension leads, we decided to keep the oven ground based and make some panini.   Unbeknown to me and his father until a couple of days ago, Louis has been living on the stuff instead of having the balanced two course school meal  that we thought he was eating.  I didn't realise  that my Parentpay account showed his menu choices and, once discovered, my son's bread based diet was clear to see.  The co-parenting relationship kicked in and Louis has had an ear bashing from two sides.  'But they're so nice!' was the plaintive excuse.   So I promised that panini would be on the menu at home.  We picked up a couple for experimentation purposes from Asda.

Above you can see the result served in two ways.  Mine are the halved breads topped with cheese, mushroom and lardons. Louis insisted on having his bread split into a pocket shape, just like they do at school!  Now grilling was always a tricky operation in the motorhome but it seems that the halogen oven has it sussed.   I might even be able to do away with carrying a toaster as well.  I'm always happy when I can shed bits of unnecessary kit.  Apparently the result was as good as what the school cooks can rustle up.  Result!

Later, we cooked chicken thighs and legs on the top rack and let the chicken juices drip onto seasoned potato wedges underneath.   Mmmm!  It was lovely served with a dish of buttered sweetcorn.  But here's the best bit.  Afterwards, the oven washes itself and has a cleaning cycle.  Half filled with water  with a glug of washing up liquid in it  the halogen light eerily switches itself on and off during the process, as if those astronaut mice are looking for a place to land.  The soapy water swirls around in a rather supernatural way as well!

Even though the halogen cooker is a bulky beast and  will take up most of the space under one seat in the motorhome, it's earned its place for both versatility and the sense of theatre that it brings to food preparation.  It will vastly extend the cookery repertoire for us and our friends who will no doubt be over to visit.  Now, that is really important for a foodie van dweller!


  1. That's definitely a good buy at that price - especially as it washes itself!

  2. I hear they are brilliant. I didn't realise it washes itself - amazing! I remember my daughter being partial to a pizza panini when she first started high school, she got bored of it eventually.

  3. I am so glad that it works for you. Friends have recommended that particular brand. My friend Eileen has a blog, recently started, devoted to her oven. Her blog is