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I received this blender as a gift last year, after I'd been bemoaning my tatty old one to a friend. She promptly offered me this brand new Kenwood blender, as she'd bought it a while before but didn't think she'd ever get round to using it. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I gratefully accepted, and have been using it ever since.
The blender looks smart and simple- plain white, although the acrylic goblet has a bluish hint to it. The goblet's capacity is a standard 1.5 litres, and the measurements are clearly marked on both sides, allowing you to see how much is going in from virtually any angle. The lid is easy to twist on and off, and has a removable filler cap in the centre, which you can unscrew in order to add ingredients while the lid itself remains in place. The blender also came with a small, jar-like mill, which can interlock with the base in the same way as the main goblet, for blending small portions of nuts, spices etc. The goblet's handle is sturdy and curved, so it's comfortable to lift.
The blender as a whole looks more compact than others I've used of the same capacity; the base is smoothly curved and not too heavy. It rests on 4 rubber feet, which ensure stability at all times. At the front of the base is the dial, with its three settings- 0 (off), and 1 and 2, to control the speed of the blender. Above this is the pulse switch- simply push down on it to speed up the blending process in short bursts.
The base and goblet interlock, and only when they are in the right position will the blender turn on. It's easy to twist the goblet into place, and the reassuring click you hear when it's fully connected confirms it's correctly positioned.
I've used this blender a lot since receiving it, on all sorts of ingredients, and I have to say the results have been mixed. For blending soups, it's been absolutely fine- it quickly gets rid of any chunky vegetables, quickly leaving you with a perfectly smooth soup. However, trying to get it to mash anything larger or firmer than a small, soft piece of vegetable is difficult. Whereas my last blender would make short shrift of banana slices or mushy orange segments, this one really struggles to get the job done- it's as if the space under the blades gets clogged up within the first few seconds of blending, leaving the rest of the unblended food sitting on top of the blades, out of reach of their chopping powers. Changing the speed back and forward and using the pulse gets things moving for another second or two before the same thing happens, and the only way I've found to achieve results is to put plenty of liquid in with the fruit.
This blender is also not very effective on biscuits and nuts- with my last one, it could easily chop up a good few at a time, whereas this one has to work much harder to blend just a few. Again, I think it's a problem with the blades; they just don't seem to be able to get to the biscuits, and the contents of the goblet ends up spinning pointlessly around, lumpy as ever. Here, however, the pulse does help- pressing down on it makes the biscuits jump and allows the blades access to different parts of them as they land. Repeated pulsing does give good results- it just takes a little longer. Looking at the blades, they are quite short, and I can't help thinking that this makes them less effective.
The only other minor niggle I have with the blender is that the filler cap in the lid has a small hole in the middle. I assume this is for pouring liquid in, but it occasionally results in an escaped fragment of biscuit or drop of soup! Nothing major, but I tend to keep my hand over the cap, just in case!
Despite these issues, I've been pleased overall with this blender. It's sturdy, but compact, not too noisy and easy to use. The goblet's smooth, rounded shape also makes it easy to clean, even around the blades. I've not had any problems with it malfunctioning, and I've had it for nearly a year now. Looking online for prices, I'm surprised to see that this model doesn't seem to be widely available, but you can buy a new one for around £20, or compile your own from spare parts available on several sites. However, due to the problems this blender has with tackling certain types of food, I'd say you're not missing out on too much if you go with a different model!
Short name: Kenwood BL430