* Prices may differ from that shown
I already own a blender, but I've been wanting a hand held blender for a while. However I specifically wanted something with a chopper attachment as well. I love cooking but one of the things I dislike is chopping numerous different ingredients. I never really felt I could justify buying an expensive gadget just to save some fiddly chopping though. However, this was on offer at Currys at Christmas, and together with a gift voucher it cost me next to nothing, so I thought I might as well have it!
As shown in the illustration, it comes with the hand held motor unit, a blending shaft, a chopping bowl with chopping blade and lid, a whisk, and a measuring beaker. The motor unit easily slots onto the blending shaft, the chopping bowl or the whisk and turns to lock into place. Everything is simple and quick to dismantle. The chopping blade easily lifts out of the chopping bowl for washing. The motor unit and chopping bowl lid have to be cleaned with a damp cloth only, but the rest of the parts can be cleaned in a dishwasher. However, it is advised not to use excessive amounts of cleaner or de-scaler.
The blender has a powerful 500w motor, an important factor in my opinion. With blenders I've found it makes a difference to the smoothness of the end result. To operate, there are two speeds, Low Speed and Turbo. The chopper can be used for meat, onions, vegetables, cheese and garlic. The Turbo switch is for processing foods such as hard cheese. However it can't be used for extremely hard foods such as nutmeg, coffee beans or grains.
The first thing I tried was the chopper. I had to finely chop some herbs, chillies, onions and garlic for a pasta sauce. I cut them into rough chunks, put them in the chopping bowl and tried it on Low Speed. Wow! In a few seconds, everything was evenly chopped! My old blender had a habit of leaving big chunks which had to be scraped back toward the blade, but not this one. I love it! It's so easy to use and I've used it for chopping ingredients for soups and curry. For me, it's the chopping attachment that's proving to be the most useful. The trouble is I can now no longer get near it when I'm cooking because my husband thinks it's so great, he's taken over as chief chopper!
For the whisk attachment, I haven't used it much, except for whisking eggs occasionally. It's a good fast whisk though, so is ideal for things such as cream, or egg whites for meringues. It can also be used for mixing sponges and ready-mix desserts.
I've used the blending attachment to make smoothies and found it works very well for blending fruits such as bananas, apples and blueberries with yogurt and soya milk. The Turbo switch is useful for blending tougher ingredients, but for softer ones the Low Speed is fine. One disadvantage is the measuring beaker only holds enough for one serving, so for more than one serving you'd need to use a bigger jug.
In terms of noisiness, I find the hand blender a little less noisy and irritating than a normal blender. The whisk makes a whizzing noise, and so does the chopper, but these are only used in short bursts of a few seconds, so not really a problem. I expect these kinds of gadgets to make some noise, but I woudn't say this is excessively loud.
The blender comes with an instruction book with several recipes, which give a useful idea of what it can be used for: Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Butter, Hearty Houmous, Simple Carrot Soup, Pesto, Thai Green Curry Paste, Very Berry Smoothie, Strawberry Smoothie and Banana Smoothie.
Overall this was a worthwhile purchase. I like the fact it's got a good powerful motor, it doesn't take up much storage space in the cupboard, and it gets my husband helping out in the kitchen!
The standard price for this is £49.99, but the current price on Amazon is £41.78.
Short name: Breville VHB012