The Courier-Mail

GIVE IT A FRY

REVOLUTION­ARY KITCHEN GADGETS

- DANIELA BERTOLLO

Aussie cooks have been flipping their lid over pie makers and air fryers. A quick look at any number of the trending recipes on social media or the fans flocking to Facebook groups like Kmart Pie Maker Recipe, Ideas and Tips (a cool 215k members and growing daily) indicates if you haven’t made room on your kitchen counter, now is the time.

And the trend, exacerbate­d by COVID lockdowns, has spawned a new book from the team at taste: Pie maker & Co – 100 top rated recipes for your favourite kitchen gadgets also including sausage roll makers, jaffles and toasties, waffle makers and air fryers.

By far the most popular of the new appliances is the pie maker. With a starting price of $29 it’s no wonder there’s been a 406 per cent increase in searches for this wonder gadget in the past year.

Lisa Muscat, co-founder of Kmart Pie Maker Recipes, Ideas and Tips Facebook group says: “The beauty of the machine is that you can turn your leftovers into another meal, as I know myself I hate wasting food. Also the variations on what you can make are enormous with or without pastry. Within a year of starting the Facebook group, with my cousin Nat, we had more than 100,000 members.”

The machine’s hot metal jaws have proved to be fertile ground for creativity, with devotees to the Facebook page going beyond the traditiona­l meat pie, sharing recipes for vanilla slice pies, quiche, scotch eggs, frittatas and hash browns. Others have replaced traditiona­l pastry with wonton wrappers, sealing pork and prawns into delectable oversized dumplings. For some, the pie maker isn’t about making pies at all, with hacks for perfectly cooked poached eggs and jam-filled doughnuts.

The Aussie appetite for all things air fryer is also growing fast. Far from a transient craze, the global air fryer market is predicted to be worth almost $1.2 billion by 2026, enticing home cooks with promises of enjoying guilt-free crispy chicken and fries, serving up cheat-day favourites with 80 per cent less fat than their deep-fried peers.

Others have found ways to turn this healthy cooking gadget into a vehicle for pure decadence. A recent video on Taste.com.au featuring a whole block of caramilk chocolate wrapped in pastry and cooked in an air fryer (see recipe right) was so popular, it broke current monthly view records in just one day.

“It has had an impressive 785K video views and counting, with this one video exceeding the total views of our biggest month for views by 47 per cent,” says Taste.com.au social media editor Stephanie Hua.

For Muscat, using the air fryer is a handy shortcut to heating up the oven. “If you only have a little bit of food to cook you don’t have to heat up the whole oven,” she says. “It's great for heating kids snacks. My favourite thing to cook in it is a whole roast chicken and I love cooking red meat in it as well. Scones are great also. I had never cooked a whole chicken in my life until I made one in the air fryer – so juicy and the skin comes up so crispy. Another popular thing to cook in it is pork belly. It creates pork crackle to die for and the meat is so tender.”

So with this massive growth in small kitchen gadgets and appliances it begs the question, when designing the kitchen of the e futur future, , will ovens still be the focus or will the emphasis be on smaller, maller, smarter, faster and nd healthier ways of f cooking that don’t n’t carry a hefty price tag.

One thing we can say for certain, the pie’s the limit.

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