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Top cooking tips and recipes for air fryers - from garlic bread to shortbread

If you recently purchased an air fryer, read on for some recipes and chef tips.

Published: January 13, 2021
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Air fryers been a popular gift this Christmas, with many of us looking for quick, easy and healthy ways to cook at home.

With this in mind, we share some recipes and tips for using an air fryer.

Scotch Lamb Filo Parcels with aubergine dip

Quality Meat Scotland's chef has shared this recipe, which uses Scotch lamb.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 50 mins

Air fryer temperature: 190°C

Ingredients

For the mince filling:

  • 250g lean Scotch Lamb mince
  • 1 tablespoon Scottish rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout
  • 4 teaspoons tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100g dried couscous
  • 100g spinach leaves
  • 40g sultanas
  • 100g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Small bunch freshly chopped parsley

For the aubergine dip:

  • 1 medium aubergine, halved
  • 1 tablespoon Scottish rapeseed oil
  • 100g low fat yogurt
  • Small handful roughly chopped fresh mint leaves

For the filo pastry:

  • 8 x sheets of filo pastry
  • 25g butter, melted
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 30g flaked almonds

Tip: If you can't find ras el hanout seasoning, make your own by blending 1 teaspoon ground paprika,1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon saffron threads.

Method

For the mince filling:

Heat the oil in a non-stick heavy bottomed pan fry the onion for a few minutes until soft, without colouring.

Add the ras el hanout and cook for1 minute.

Add the Scotch Lamb and cook for 5 minutes until brown. Add the tomato purée and cook for a further minute.

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Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the couscous, spinach and sultanas. Mix well and remove from the heat. Cover and allow to stand for 6 minutes to allow the couscous to swell.

Fluff the mixture up using a fork and fold in the feta cheese. Season and add the parsley.

For the aubergine dip:

Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan, Gas Mark 6

Cut the aubergine in half, season and drizzle with oil.

Position the two aubergine halves back together, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the aubergine from the foil and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon.

Transfer to a preheated frying pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until the excess moisture has evaporated.

Blitz the aubergine in a blender with the yogurt and herbs. Season to taste.

For the parcels:

Lay one filo pastry sheet on a chopping board with the short side nearest to you and brush with the melted butter.

Cover the remaining pastry with a damp tea towel to keep moist.

Place 110g of filling onto the pastry and fold over making sure the edges are sealed well with the butter. Repeat with the remaining mixture using a new sheet of filo pastry for each parcel to make 8 parcels.

Preheat air fryer to 190°C.

Add 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil then the pastillas and cook for 5 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

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Sprinkle with cinnamon and flaked almonds.

Chef tip

Chef Paul Wedgwood has this tip for air fryer cooking: "An Air Fryer is brilliant for homemade or shop bough garlic bread.

"No need to heat up the oven, just pop the bread into the Air Fryer which saves time and is less hassle."

Shortbread

air fryers

Picture: Shutterstock

It might seem unbelievable but you can make shortbread in an air fryer.

There are a few recipes online, and the main thing to remember is that you're cooking the shortbread in the fryer so timings may vary from your oven.

This recipe from Taste of Home suggests a cooking time of 7-9 minutes.

And here's our recipe for traditional Scottish shortbread.

Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter, diced to room temperature
  • 125g unrefined caster sugar
  • 300g plain flour
  • 80g cornflour
  • extra caster sugar for dredging

Makes around 15 biscuits

1 Whip the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy, then gently and carefully sift in the flour and cornflour (not whilst the machine is on).

Fold in the flour,  being careful not to overmix at this stage.

2 Roll the dough into 2 sausage shapes, about the width of a £2 coin (1 and a 1/2 inches). Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.

3 Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 4mm thick discs and lay on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake in pre-heated oven, 135C-150C/Gas Mark 1-2 for 45 minutes, or until they start turning golden at the edges.

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Allow to cool, then dredge with extra sugar.

Fried chicken

BBC Good Food have this handy recipe for crispy chicken in minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4 large or 8 small chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • seasoning of choice (use salt and pepper, or ½-1 tsp of either smoky BBQ, ras-el-hanout, garlic granules, celery salt or garam masala)

Method

Toss the chicken thighs in the oil, making sure they are all well-coated.

Mix the flour with the seasoning, then toss with the chicken thighs – it will be a very light coating, but you can double the flour and seasoning if you prefer a thicker coating.

Arrange the chicken in one layer on the tray of an air fryer without a paddle, and program to cook for 35 mins. Check the thighs are cooked by pulling the flesh on the underside of one away from the bone – it should come away easily and there should be no pink remaining.

Cook for another 5-10 mins if needed. The skin should have bubbled and crisped up, and any excess fat from the chicken will have dripped into the base of the fryer (you can discard this).

Don’t leave the chicken in the fryer, or the steam will make the skin soft again.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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