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I must admit I have come to a lot of small kitchen appliances late in life. Although I learned how to bake from my grandma as a child and continued to learn about cookery at school I never used gadgets to help the process along. So if I wanted whipped cream, the whisk came out and it was whipped by hand. Similarly if I wanted to chop an onion, this was done with a knife on a chopping board and was invariably followed by a stream of tears and the occasional bloody finger.
I finally got a mixer and a hand blender a couple of years ago and was amazed at what I had been missing. I like to make soup from scratch and a blender has been a must have for this. When I spotted a Breville 3 in 1 hand blender in Sainsburys just after Christmas for £20, I was intrigued, as it contained a chopper. I love carrot and lentil soup but grating the carrots by hand is a tiresome chore - would this device incorporate blending and chopping to make soup making easier?
~~Breville 3 in 1 Hand Blender~~
This little gadget looks just like a hand blender but inside the box you also get a 500ml chopper, a whisk and a 600 ml beaker with lid.
Breville claim the blender has an ergonomic "easy grip" and the motor has two speeds.
Looks wise the blender is silver stainless steel with black plastic trims. It looks sleek and because the leg of the blender, the whisk and the chopper are all separate components, it's quite easy to separate the pieces and store neatly away. This is, in effect, a very basic food processor.
The motor on this gadget is 400 watts.
I purchased this primarily to use as a blender, but in my haste to buy I missed one important piece of information on the box. The motor only has two speeds - and until you actually use the blender you don't have any idea what those speeds are. This was a bit of a surprise to me as my old blender which was a Tesco model which had cost me about £8, had three speeds.
The main motor part of the blender only has two buttons to press when using and you have to press the required button and hold it when processing food.
Upon using this to blend I realised the two speeds are "on" and "turbo". What these should really say is "fast" and "very fast". Now this isn't a problem using the Breville as a blender - although my advice when blending soup is always to start slow to avoid the possibility of hot soup flying out and hitting you in the face. This is good advice as I have yet to be hit in the face by hot soup. I have used the "turbo" setting if I feel it's taking a while to blend down the soup but I find the turbo setting works best when blending pieces of fruit into a smoothie.
I have also used this making up salad dressings. I am a sucker for Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing and friends in America send me over sachets of dressing mix which are made up using milk and mayonnaise. The only way to ensure a dressing which isn't full of lumps is to blend the powder, milk and mayonnaise together and using the first setting of "on" makes light work of the job.
The beaker is a decent enough size - it holds 600 ml and has a lid, which is ideal for preparing smoothies which you may wish to chill after blending. It does have some limitations however - I invariably make more than 600 ml of soup so I find myself having to blend it down in batches rather than all at once.
The chopper has been the biggest revelation for me. Instead of spending 20 minutes grating carrots or crying my eyes out chopping an onion for spaghetti bolognaise, I can quite literally have carrots ready for my soup in 10 seconds, and tear free finely chopped onion in a similar time.
The chopper comprises a clear plastic bowl which has a capacity of 500 ml. The blade, which is removable, sits on the bottom of the bowl and you place the main motor of the blender on to a black plastic lid which slots into place on top of the bowl. Then switch the "on" button and be amazed at how quickly you have chopped your vegetables.
The only problem I have had with the chopper is the fact the plastic the bowl is made from is easily stained, and the beta carotene in the carrots seems to be particularly bad at staining the bowl. Even when I have washed the bowl as soon as I have removed the chopped carrots from the bowl I have found it impossible to remove every last trace of orange.
So far so good - we have a good blender and a fast chopper. So lastly we come to the whisk - and it is with this that the Breville loses marks.
The whisk is quite small so when I first used it I was expecting it to be the perfect size for whisking in a small jug. This was a mistake - as soon as I pressed the "on" button half the contents of the jug flew across the kitchen.
Having realised my mistake I decanted what was left in the jug into a small high sided Pyrex bowl. The contents did manage to stay in the bowl but there was still a surprising amount of mess from minor splashes. To be fair to Breville the instruction manual does state that the whisk should only be used in a large container - I just hadn't read that part.
What I really don't like about using this as a mixer however is the fact you have to press and hold the speed button you require all the time you are whisking. Now anyone who whisks cream will know it can take a while for those "peaks" to appear, and if you are having to hold a whisk device whilst all the while pressing a button, it soon gets uncomfortable.
Having used the whisk feature a couple of times I am in no great rush to repeat the experiment due to the fact it's so cumbersome and can be rather messy to use.
The only saving grace of the whisk is the fact it's easy to clean. It's a balloon style whisk attachment which is much easier to clean than the attachments on my electric mixer but it's so messy and uncomfortable to use, never mind slow, that this benefit is heavily outweighed.
The blender leg and chopper are easy to wash too - although I noticed that the white plastic blade holder for the chopper is prone to staining too. My advice is to wash all the components as quickly as possible after use. It should go without saying that the main motorised part of the blender cannot be washed - to clean just wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth.
Breville advise if you have chopped salty food you should wash the blades as soon as you are finished as the salt can have an adverse effect upon them. Only the chopping bowl and beaker are dishwasher safe.
It's very easy to place the different attachments on to the body - having used several blenders I have found that some manufacturers don't seem capable of making it clear how to attach and detach the blender leg but Breville have clear signs to show how to lock the pieces into place by simply having little lock and unlock icons on each attachment.
Breville suggest you don't use the blender continuously for more than 15 seconds without giving it a rest period of 2 minutes. The whisk can be used for longer but once again they suggest not using it for longer than 2 minutes without a rest period of 5 minutes.
When I bought this, I was attracted to it by the £20 price tag as Sainsburys claimed it was half price. Upon checking online, it's currently available on Amazon for just over £38 so I guess I got a bargain, although if I am honest I feel £20 is probably all this is worth.
I am also aware of the fact that a lot of the things I like about this little gadget could be viewed as disadvantages by others. For starters, this is very small. As there's only me and my daughter I don't do a huge amount of cooking from scratch, this is a good size for us but if you are cooking for a large family it quite clearly has limitations.
The whisk is what really lets this down for me - it is cumbersome and messy, and if I didn't already have a hand mixer I would be bitterly disappointed in this one.
If you live alone or cook only occasionally this might be a good buy, but not at full price - shop around and see if you can get it for £20 because I believe that's about its money.
I HAVE JUST RETURNED TO THE SHOP I GOT IT FROM, DO NOT BUY THIS BLENDER EVEN IT IS ON SALE PLEASE!!! IT IS NOT VERY GOOD
If I am honest I have more kitchen gadgets than any one person is likely to need, I see something I like for the kitchen and I buy it, it is a problem I have had ever since I took up cooking a good few years ago now.
One of my worst ever purchases for the kitchen was the Breville VHB014, it is a three in one tool, a mini chopper, balloon whisk and blender rolled into one and with a 400 watt motor and costing me only £45.99 instead of the RRP of £69.99 it seemed like a great buy.
In truth though this appliance was a real waste of money, the blade on the chopper was very flimsy and struggled to chop pretty much anything, it was also very noisy and slow.
The whisk attachment was better than the chopper but although it done its very simple job fairly well it was still very noisy and the vibration from it was very annoying.
As a blender it was as good as useless to be fair and it noisily struggled to blend anything and the motor kept sounding as though it would burn out and grind to a halt at any moment.
I feel cheated and I only paid a fraction of the full price so god only knows how I would feel had I paid full price, this was a poor kitchen tool that I would not recommend to anyone which is a shame because on the whole Breville items tend to be pretty good.
I'd been wanting something like this for a while when I found the Breville 3 in 1 in the Littlewoods sale, reduced from £69.99 to £29.99. Sounded like a bargain, so I snapped it up quick!
It has a 400 watt motor with two speed levels. You then get a mini chopper, balloon whisk, and blender, along with a large measuring/mixing cup.
I have to say I was quite excited when I received it! With so many bits and bobs it would come in really useful. Unfortunately, when I used it I was not so impressed. Don't get me wrong, it works... just not that well.
It is not the strongest model on the market, nor the fastest. The metal blade in the mini chopper is quite flimsy and doesn't always chop too well. The blender blade is a lot stronger but as the motor isn't very powerful it doesn't work as well as it could and takes a while to blend (chop, mix, etc) things.
I like to use the mini chopper to chop onions as I can't bear chopping them myself. Usually I'll chop them into quarters (8ths if I'm feeling adventurous!) and chuck them in like that. Other choppers tend to get through them quite quickly, yet the Breville 3 in 1 can't seem to manage to cut them, I'll turn it on and the blades seem to push the onions around the chopper rather than slice through them so I'll end up with 4 (or 8) large chunks and a lot of tiny pieces and mushy shavings where the blades have skimmed the edges of the onion - not nice!
I also like to make hummous, which is also a disaster in this model. I find that I have to take the lid off and stir it 6-7 times as the chickpeas just get stuck underneath the blades and around the sides of the pot. Yes, I sometimes have to do this with other choppers, but nowhere near as often as with this one.
The whisk attachment was better, it had to be - all it does is spin around! Yet it seemed to vibrate a lot like it wasn't completely secure.
I persisted with it, but after two months of use the whisk started to spin off, I tried a couple more times but it wouldn't stay at all. I then looked at the main motor section to find that the metal had worn down so you could no longer securely attach anything.
I'd had enough! I sent the bloody thing back and bought a new one, lol!
I don't think it was really worth the price I paid (£29.99), and anyone who paid the full price of £69.99 must be a fool (apologies if you are reading this, lol!).
I ended up buying a very similar set in Tesco for £15 - it ended up being half the price and twice as good!
So, my opinion on the Breville 3 in 1? - don't waste your money.
I enjoy making my own soup, but prefer them to be smooth rather than have lumps in, so when I saw this blender on offer in Tesco for £24.99 it seemed like an ideal purchase - especially as it came with accessories such as a balloon whisk and a mini processor.
The blender comes with 2 speed settings but I've found the first to be more than powerful enough when blending soups.
The mini food processor is more than sufficient for chopping veg finely, but it does need to be chopped roughly first into chunks to make sure it all gets chopped.
The weakest part is the balloon whisk, it doesn't seem to do the job all that well but I was bought a hand mixer not long after so I haven't had much use for it anyway.
It does seem to get quite hot on continuous use so I give it a rest if I need to use it for a big batch.
I don't think that it feels particularly heavy, I would describe it as weighty but in a good way if that makes sense? It feels reassuringly sturdy.
The non-electrical parts are dishwasher safe, and although I don't have a dishwasher, I wouldn't be sure about putting the lid to the chopper in one as it does seem to take in a lot of water in normal washing up. I now just wipe this part with a cloth.
All in all if you need something to do a quick job, then this is a handy gadget to have. If you do lots of blending then I would recommend a bigger food processor.
Short name: Breville VHB014