Review of the Andrew James Halogen Oven
It would have got 3 stars if it hadn't been for the Customer Service
Advantages and Disadvantages of Halogen Ovens
Advantages of Halogen Ovens
Disadvantages of Halogen Ovens
Advantages of Andrew James Halogen Oven
Disadvantages of Andrew James Halogen Oven
Food retains more of the juices
It doesn’t hold enough food for more than four people
More accessories than other brands included
Very Bad Customer Service
Uses less energy
Does not defrost very well
Stand for lid included
Takes up less space than a conventional or microwave oven
Difficult to lift the tray out of the oven when it’s hot, even with the tongs provided
Recipe book included
The lid is heavy and difficult to handle when hot.
They now have a model with a hinged lid.
It cooks too quickly on top
Having decided to buy a halogen oven, I did my research and trawled the internet for reviews of the best brands.
There are a number of different brands out there such as JML, Flavorwave, Coopers and Andrew James but all halogen ovens seem to be pretty much the same. However, Andrew James included the most accessories with theirs, including a stand for the lid.
This must be bought separately with most other brands and most of the reviewers said that it is essential. Having used the oven, I agree wholeheartedly.
Customer Service of Andrew James
The reviews also said that Andrew James had the best customer service, so the decision wasn't difficult. However, as you shall see, the customer service we received was definitely not the best.
The 12L Andrew James Halogen Oven
I bought the 12L Andrew James Halogen Oven through Amazon, and got an email direct from Andrew James saying it had been dispatched.
It took longer than the time stated to arrive, but we do live in a pretty remote area and couriers sometimes have a little trouble finding us, so I let it go. Once it arrived the first thing I noticed was that a small rubber support had broken away from the stand.
I took a photograph of it right away and emailed it to Andrew James Customer Service, asking them to send me a new stand. They agreed and said it would be dispatched in a day or two. Satisfied, I began to use my new oven. (The broken piece could be pushed back into place). But what Customer Service said they'd do and what they actually did turned out to be two different things, as I found out later. More on that below.
Learning to use a Halogen Oven
There is a learning curve with using a halogen oven. For example vegetables actually take longer to roast than meat, and you need to cover the food most of the time because it burns quite quickly. But I got the hang of it pretty quickly and by the first weekend managed to do a very nice roast chicken.
Some of the reviews said that the halogen oven cooks food faster than a conventional oven, but I didn't find this to be the case.
Halogen, conventional or microwave oven?
Just about any food that can be cooked in a conventional oven can be cooked in a halogen oven.
So in the summertime when the weather is too hot to use the oven, the halogen comes into its own.
And unlike a microwave, the halogen oven does brown the food nicely if you uncover it for a short time at the end of cooking.
Halogen Oven Cook Books
The 12L oven is just big enough to cook a piece of meat to feed four people.
The pictures you see in advertisements and on cookbooks with a chicken and vegetables all roasting together nicely is actually not practical as I mentioned above.
You can cook meat and vegetable together, if you put your vegetables in an hour before you put in the meat, and if you are only cooking for one or two people.
Having said that, I did find a cookbook essential for learning the basics.
Defrosting with a Halogen Oven
There is a defrost setting on the halogen oven, but it doesn't work very well.
If the item is too small, it begins to cook on the outside while it’s still frozen on the inside. If it’s too big, it takes 3-4 times longer than a microwave to defrost.
The tongs for Halogen Oven
The tongs provided with the oven are essential as it would be impossible to lift the tray out of the oven without it.
But even with the tongs, when the tray is full of hot food it is quite difficult to grip it. You really need to support it with a gloved hand once you lift it out.
The lid stand is essential
The stand for the lid is also essential, as mentioned above.
The lid is where the halogen bulb and fan are located so it is heavy and bulky and hot!
But essential as the stand is, it is not very satisfactory. It’s made of very light and shiny metal, and as you try to maneuver the heavy lid into it, it shoots away from you and across the worktop.
Because I needed two hands to hold the lid, I had to jam the stand against the wall to hold it steady.
My husband tried gluing some rubber pads onto the legs, and this did help somewhat, but it really was the lack of weight that was the problem.
Update: Andrew James now have a model with a hinged lid. I tried this while staying at my daughter's and it is much easier to use. Well done, Andrew James!
Customer Service for Andrew James Halogen Oven
My replacement stand never did arrive.
When I emailed Andrew James Customer Service after two weeks, I was asked to confirm my address and was told that the new stand would be dispatched the next day.
I waited another two weeks and emailed again with the same result.
So I emailed again, and again, and again.
Each time with an, albeit polite, email saying it would be dispatched the next day.
Eventually, the broken piece from the stand would no longer stay in place and as this made the oven unstable, it was too dangerous to use.
I complained to Amazon and was issued with a full refund.
Would I buy another Andrew James Halogen Oven? Advantages and Disadvantages.
The advantages of the halogen oven are that the food does retain more of the juices, it takes up less space than a microwave or conventional oven and uses less energy. It's can also be a useful alternative to using the conventional oven in hot weather, provided you're not cooking for a large family.
The disadvantages are that it doesn't hold enough food to feed a large family, the food as a tendency to cook too quickly on top unless you cover it and it doesn't defrost food very well. There's also the difficulty with lifting out the tray, and with the heavy lid as mentioned above. And the bowl is also very heavy and large, making it difficult to clean.
We don't own a microwave, so the defrost feature was important. If I had known this, combined with all the other disadvantages, I probably would have bought a microwave oven instead.
So, all in all, I'm not sure that I would buy another halogen oven.
But if I do decide to go for another one, I don’t think it will be an Andrew James Halogen Oven.
Update: Andrew James have now gone into administration so are no longer trading.