It may seem like an unusual thing to have, but ahand blender can be a handy piece of kit if you dont have an actual blender. My mum got us this as a present, but I was not sure rather ungratefully, if I would have preferred an actual stand up blender. I think your supposed to use this hand blender for softer foods and I have used it for mashing eggs, strawberries and bananas into shakes and protein drinks.
I think she bought this, unusually from Robert Dyas, the Iron Monger and general kitchen utilities shop for a round £20.
Its powerful enough to blend these softer and smaller items into a nice pulp that I can drink and add my protein powder to. The motor is actually 500 watts and purees mostly anything but diamonds and rocks easily. Like most small motor dynamos going at speed against resistance you can feel it getting hot the more and longer you use it, the handle never becomes too hot to handle , sorry for the pun, but you do feel it and I wondered if I was going to burn the motor out at first...so I only use it in short, sharp spurts. You also get a small plastic container for free with 500 ml capacity to catch the liquid or puree- this was another nice touch I felt.
Its a robust hard plastic resin case, white colour and the metal infrastructure runs alongside the middle of the appliance. The motor is at the top and the steel blade at the bottom with a protective plastic case like a half sphere around it, stopping most ! of the splash and helping you to not chop off your fingers. You can detach the main body of the blender for cleaning or maintenance but I was a bit scared to put the thing into soapy hot water, it just doesnt feel right to put a mechanical and electrical devise fully in water- but obviously it is fully waterproof for cleaning purposes. The top of the main handle section is an on/off button, it has a safety feature so kiddies cannot take their fingers off by mistake, you depress the button and it stays depressed that 'arms' the blender- then secondly when you depress it further the blender will acutally start up. On the lower part of the button, there is a nitro feature, press this baby and the blender goes into overdrive, for those particularly troublesome substanses that simply refuse to play ball. This was a good feature I felt.
The only issue I felt is that the power cable is a tad too short for a long armed person like myself, and so you do need to have lots of conveniently placed electrical sockets intersperced around your kitchen or you could find yourself blending near the cats dish or something.
The blade and the plastic cup protector feature can be a bit of a pain to wash and get around, the blade has been slicing up my brillo pads allot and I am alittle concerned that as I try to get the conjealed food off of the steel blade it might have a nick in store for my fingers, but so far I have avoided injury.
Inside the box you`ll get the blender, the protective cup, the instruction manual and a manufacturers warrenty.
I received this blender as a gift for Valentine's Day and I've been delighted with it so far! I've been wanting to expand my repertoire of recipes and be able to easily make things like soups and purees so a hand blender was the obvious choice.
The product has a motor section with a power cord connected to a plug socket. This motor is then connected to either the hand blender attachment or the chopper attachment. I'll start with the hand blender as that was the main purpose for getting this product. I have used it to make soups, purees, pestos and smoothies. You can use it to blend things while they are cooking in the saucepan or use the jug that comes with it. It's so simple to use: the attachment easily clicks onto the motor and it is equally simple to remove - there is a push button release on the side of the blender. This makes it very easy to wash the blender. And to operate it, you just push and hold one of the two power buttons.
The blender has two power settings: normal and turbo. So far, nothing that I have tried to blend has caused much of a problem for this product. Even on the normal setting, it does not take long to make a very smooth puree. The only thing to bear in mind is that according to the instructions, you should only operate the blender for about 5 seconds at a time so that it does not overheat. This is slightly annoying but not a significant problem - just wait a few seconds and operate it again.
The chopper attachment consists of a specifically designed container with a rotating steel blade. It is slightly more difficult to attach to the motor and you need to be careful to make sure the lid is secured properly, but you get used to these things quickly. I have used this attachment to dice vegetables and to make breadcrumbs, both of which it does brilliantly. It has saved me so much time when preparing vegetables for meals like bolognese or cottage pie, when you want them finely diced.
This definitely isn't the cheapest hand blender on the market, but I think the quality of the product compares favourably to other similarly priced blenders. If you regularly cook at home, you will find it saves you time when cooking all sorts of meals, so you should consider it a must-buy. The only slight problem for me was that the power cord is not particularly long. For most people this probably wouldn't be a problem but it just happens that in my kitchen the sockets are not close to the hobs, so the blender would not reach the oven. This means that I have to move the saucepans over to the sockets to blend the food. That is the only thing stopping this get a 5* review.
A few months ago I decided to invest in a hand blender for my kitchen. My mum gave me a recipe book for baking various cakes and biscuits and for this reason I have taken a recent shine to baking. However I was finding that I was getting very tired arms from whisking all those eggs and so was looking for something to help me along the way. Although ideally I would have gone for an electric whisk, my mum, who accompanied me on the shopping trip, suggested that I'd be better off investing in a hand blender as I'd get more use out of it. She explained that she'd also used a hand blender to make cake batter previously with no problems at all so I decided to take her advice. One of the hand blenders that caught my eye in my local Comet store was the Breville IHB086 which also came with a chopper accessory and was priced at a very reasonable price of £19.99.
I have been using my hand blender for around 4 months now and I honestly can't understand how I managed without it! Apart from my kettle and microwave it is my most used appliance! The hand blender itself is white in colour with a silver strip in the middle of the body. The motor is housed at the top end of the blender which can be detached from the blending arm, which I can only describe as looking like it has a flower at the end with a small blade underneath its head! The arm is detached by simply pressing a button half way up the body of the blender. This is such a handy feature! My mum's old blender at home has been going strong for about 20 years now but rather annoyingly doesn't have this detachable arm feature. This can make it a bit of a pain to wash as it means having to immerse the blending arm in water whilst trying not to get the blender motor wet! It also makes it difficult to wash the blade and inside the blending arm as it is impossible to turn the arm upside down and not get the motor wet!
At the top of the body there is a button which turns the blender on. This button has two sections. One simply turns the blender on and when depressed the blender whirrs into action at its normal speed. The lower half of this button is for the "turbo" setting which delivers an extra burst of power - great for foods that are slightly harder to blend. I should point out here that the blender has a powerful 500 watt motor that enables it to blend, chop and puree with ease. I tend to use the blender in short 30 second bursts as I am wary of putting too much stress on the motor and burning it out!
I have used this blender in the kitchen to make cake batter which is what I initially bought it for. It's good at creaming together butter and sugar as well as whisking eggs. However I do think that an electric whisk would do a slightly better job here as creaming the butter and sugar can take a while and a lot of it does get stuck inside the blender arm! Having said that I do eventually end up with a batter that has a smooth, silky consistency and makes excellent cakes!
As the days get colder I have also found myself reaching for foods like soups to warm me up. In order to save a bit of money and also to be a bit more adventurous I have started to make my own soups with great success! Last week I made a delicious sweet potato and carrot soup and used the blender to blend the soup to a silky smooth consistency. Last year when I first made home-made soups I used to pop the hot mixture into a blender that came with my food processer. However it is much easier just to use the hand blender in the pan. I will point out though that hand-blending my soup did take a bit more effort than just popping it into the food processor but meant that I could blend in one go rather than in batches and also save on extra washing up! My food processor is also bulkier than the hand blender and as my kitchen is quite small I tend to keep this stored in a cupboard and only bring it out when needed so getting it assembled is a bit of a pain. With the hand blender it's just a case of plugging in and I'm ready to go! The only downside to using this to blend my soup is that the orange colour of the carrots and sweet potato has stained the plastic to a bright orange colour! This would not have happened with a blender with a metal arm.
The chopper that came with this blender is also excellent! It consists of a small container which has a 500ml capacity and that houses a small chopping blade. This is covered by a lid which has a slot for the blender motor to fit in. I find that the chopper is great for making dips. Just a couple of days ago I made a scrummy home-made pesto sauce in this chopper and it managed to blitz the basil and pine nuts with no effort at all. And it tasted much better than the shop bought ones in my opinion! Like all food processors though some of the ingredients do tend to accumulate on the side and then are not accessible by the blade. I just get around this by removing the lid and scraping the ingredients back into the centre before resuming blending.
The hand blender also comes with a 500ml beaker which can be used for pureeing food and making smoothies. I tend to make a lot of smoothies in the summer months but tend to use frozen fruits which I think might be a bit much for the hand blender so I tend to use the food processor blender instead. Given my experience of blending soup with this I think that blending fruits with this would require much more effort than using a larger blender.
To summarise, I love my new addition to the kitchen and in recent months it has been one of my most used appliances. It is good for making cake batter and handy for blitzing soups. The chopper is brilliant for making dips and sauces and I can see myself using this quite regularly. I already have a list of recipes for chutneys and dips that I would like to try! For the price I think this is an excellent bit of kit for any kitchen and so useful I often wonder how I ever managed without it!
Short name: Breville IHB086