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I recently moved into a new place, and the kitchen is slightly on the small side with very little storage so rather than buying a full blown, all singing and dancing food processor I decided to go for a hand held blender. I hadn't really looked up which ones were the best etc but just went into Argos and purchased the Phillips model. It cost approximately 14.99, which I thought was a very reasonable price.
My main reason for purchasing was for when making soups, sauces and pastes. The blender comes with a standard UK plug, a decently sized cable, a measuring jug/cup and instruction manual. The set up was pretty self explanatory, you attach the blender head to the motorised top and blend away. The blender is shaped nicely to fit in the hand and is not too bulky or heavy.
I have found that it works perfectly for anything I have used it for so far, this includes soups, milkshakes, smoothies, sauces and pastes. The blender is more powerful than I thought it would be and nothing seems to be much of a challenge for it. A nice touch is the jug/cup that you get with it. You can add you ingredients to the cup and blend in that or use it in other pans etc. The cup also has volume marking up the side which makes it easier when measuring things out and also saves on the washing up! The blender head can be removed from the motor which makes the washing very easy and I usually just wipe down the motor part if there are any splashes on it.
All in all I would recommend this blender, I don't envisage there is much that it can't deal with.
As one of our wedding gifts, a kindly soul bought us this Philips stick blender which I was very pleased about as I am quite a fan of home made soup and smoothies. I'm sure when we received this the blenders were around £15 but now the price on Amazon is around £25 (cheaper on the Amazon marketplace).
==What you get==
For your money you get both a stick blender (see photo) and a beaker (not pictured) which is clear, has volumes measured on the side and a plastic lid. The quality of both items is excellent as you would probably expect from a well-known brand such as Philips. The beaker in particular is not flimsy, it is made from a strong plastic and the lid stays on very well. It is a bonus to have the volumes measured up the side. The stick blender comes apart in the middle if you look closely on the photo you can see a blue/purple line around the middle, you click the button on either side of the blender and the end bit comes away so that you can easily wash the blender part whilst keeping the electrics nice and dry before clicking it easily back into place. The shape of the blender means that it is quite nice to hold and Philips have designed the top of it well as there is a special area for the cord to feed through which hopefully means you won't cut through the cord and electrocute yourself. As for getting the blender working, there are just two speeds "go" and "go faster". There isn't an on/off switch as such, you just have to keep your finger on one of the speed buttons whilst you blend. It isn't too difficult to do that but sometimes my finger starts to ache. I understand why they can't have an on/off switch though as it would be hard to stop quickly if there was an accident with the blade so from the safety aspect this is pretty good.
As blending is the main role of the blender it would be apt to talk about it's blending capabilities. The thing I mostly make with this is home made soup and I find the slower speed does well at breaking down the food into a fairly smooth liquid but the "go faster" speed smooths the lumps out really well. It is worth noting that things like tomato pips aren't blended so if I use tomatoes I tend to sieve the soup afterwards or risk a mouthful of tomato pip with my lunch! I also blend fruit for smoothies and find that the smaller pips aren't quite as noticeable and smoothies taste like the innocent smoothies with "bits" in it which is fine by me. I have also blended ice into the smoothie but the blender isn't really built for that and struggles and shouts at you and generally doesn't like it so I would not recommend that. Due to the design, there is very rarely any splatter of food when you are blending it down which is also good.
For the price and quality of this item, it has a brilliant design and does the job really well. I do wish there was an on/off switch to save my aching finger but equally I understand why there isn't one. The beaker is an added bonus and a nice freebie. If this broke tomorrow I wouldn't hesitate in buying a new one. A great little purchase.
When Mr Lools and I bought our first place together in 2006 kitchen space was limited. We had a food processor but because it was deemed big and bulky we gave it away to another family member and purchased a hand blender. Back then blending and pureeing food was quite a rarity so we didn't we didn't want to purchase something expensive which is why when we were browsing our local Asda store and the Philips HR1361 Hand Blender was on special offer we purchased. Four years later when our twins arrived this turned out to be one of our best purchases.
***Philips HR1361 Hand Blender***
Philips actually describe the HR161 Hand Blender as "ideal for anyone who hasn't t got the space for a food processor, but wants great results when making soups, purees, smoothies and shakes."
The Hand Blender is white plastic with a light lilac easy hold grip and can deal with tough ingredients with it being 600W and has a turbo button. There is a chopper attachment and whisk attachment. The chopper attachment has a double action blade which ensures all ingredients are evenly cut and this has an anti-splash guard to cut down on the mess.
The attachments are easily attached and detached and easily washed. The hand blender also comes with a half-litre plastic beaker and lid to store purées or use to whisk eggs in. The accessories are dishwasher safe.
The Philips HR1361 Hand Blender is available from a number of retailers. This includes Argos, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Comet, Curry's and Amazon. I purchased this 6 years ago in Asda for £15 which at the time was a bargain and still is. After a quick web search at time of writing (August 2011) the current selling price for this is around £24.99 (Argos, and Tesco).
The Philips HR1361 Hand Blender is very easy to use. The hand blender comes with an instructions manual but when you take the blender out of the packaging it is very self-explanatory. The main operating section of the blender is around 15 cm in length and circular about 4cm in diameter. On this section there is an on button made from rubbery material and a turbo button underneath made from the same material. You then have a whisk attachment and also a chopper attachment with a guard around it. To use you simply click the attachment you want to use into the base of the operating section, turn the blender on at the plug and press the on button or turbo button to blend.
In order to use the operating unit you need to ensure that you are constantly holding down either the ON or TURBO button. This ensures you are blending or whisking. To stop blending you simply release the button. Obviously this is a safety feature but you do find if you are blending for long periods your thumb starts to ache from holding the button down.
The hand blender is extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of food.
Prior to my boys arriving I used to cook homemade soup for Mr Lools and I. We both hate chunky soup and prefer smooth. With our old food processor I would find myself pouring hot soup from the large stock pot into the food processor jug. As you can imagine not only did I burn myself countless amounts of times I often used to spill soup onto the floors and benches. When using the Philips HR1361 Hand Blender I could simply just put the hand blender into the chunky soup turn on and after one minute I would have perfectly smooth soup. I was very impressed at just how effective and smooth the blender makes food in such a short space of time with no mess. On the first occasion I made a huge pan of soup for 8 people I used the blender and only found 1 or two lumps. With practice I soon perfected my technique so when I use the blender I get no lumps.
If you are blending small quantities of food I have found the plastic beaker that comes with the blender is convenient to do this in. My only criticism is that because this is tall and narrow often found you wouldn't be able to see any lumps as easily. When I was blending vegetable purees for my boys I would mainly use the blender straight into the pan. Because the chopper attachment has an anti-splash cover you don't get any mess and you can immediately spot any lumps. It also is easier to spoon purees from a pan rather than the half litre plastic beaker as this is tall and thin.
As the weaning stage progressed I started to use the hand blender to puree and chop meat finely. With vegetables the hand blender is very effective at blending on the normal setting. With meat I use the turbo function and this does take slightly more effort. To chop up one chicken breast finely I found that I needed to use the blender on turbo for around 2 and a half minutes and ensure I move the meat about so it does not get stuck in the blades. I first tried this in the half litre beaker that comes with the blender however I found the meat just got stuck in the blades therefore started using a bowl to put the meat in. Doing it this way ensures you can see lumps and move the meat about to chop up easily.
When you use the blender it does make some noise especially when it is chopping up food that is more difficult to cut. When chopping meat it does sound a little like a chainsaw cutting down a tree.
I have used the whisk on many an occasion to whisk eggs. I tend to only use two eggs at a time and using the plastic beaker to do this is fine. The whisk does cause the egg to splash high up the sides of the beaker but does not spill over. When making a larger cake I cracked three eggs into the beaker and when I went to whisk I had a serious egg spillage which splashed all over my kitchen. Therefore it is advisable to only whisk no more than 2 eggs at one time. You could whisk in another beaker but you would need a much taller beaker than this one (which is around 25cm high) and I do not have any in my kitchen as tall as this, therefore it is easier to do in smaller quantities. I have also used the whisk on cake mixtures to make them lighter. This does work but again you need to use quite a high sided bowl in order to prevent splashes.
The cable on the hand blender is around 2meters long. This makes blending very easy if you do need to be further away from the plug socket and you are not restricted to being directly next to the plug socket.
Cleaning the hand blender is very simple. You simply press two clips at the side of the operating unit and the attachment comes free from the operating unit. You can then wash these attachments as necessary. These are dishwasher safe. I do find with the chopper attachment food does get stuck under the blades so you need to take care when trying to get this out. With the chopper attachment I do find only the head really gets covered in food as the anti-splash guard stops it splashing up. The whisk is also very easy to clean and because it is flexible the metal moves so you can get in to all of the gaps.
As someone who weaned two babies solely on home cooked food I would say a hand blender is an essential item. Many parents may be lured by advertising to buy "specialist blenders" sold by the likes of Mothercare etc. that are designed "especially for weaning" but after using to blend nearly every meal and food you can think of for almost 7 months I would say the Philips HR1361 hand blender is a very smart purchase. For less than £20 this has been a very worthwhile investment and it blended food quickly and easily, creating lump free purees.
It is also a very convenient blender for those that make homemade soup and want this pureed. You can simply put the blender with chopper attachment in the pan and blend with no splash back. The whisk attachment is an added extra meaning you can beat eggs in the accompanying beaker but you do need to take care if you are beating more than 3 eggs as liquid spills out when whisking.
A space and time saver!
Philips Hand Blender HR1361
I have recently started to make my little girl some homemade baby food. All of the recipes I have tell you to blend the ingredients so they come out to a puree consistency and so I needed a kitchen appliance capable of doing this. I have a juicer and also a food blender but I found that they were way too big for the job. The baby food I am making is in such small portions that when I put the ingredients into them they did not puree the food well because there was not too much of it. That's why I decided I needed a hand blender as I had heard from other mummies that these work really well.
I made a quick trip to Argos to look for a blender. To be honest I didn't really have a make or model in mind, I just sort of picked the first one I saw that was quite reasonable. I could have chosen a really fancy one with lots of different speeds and attachments but I wanted quite a simple one that was able to just purely puree the food and nothing else. I decided I didn't need a chopping option or a whisk so I purchased the Philips hand blender HR1361 as it only intended to be a blender. It cost £14.99 which I thought was quite a good price too.
Philips say the hand blender is intended for:
- blending fluids eg dairy products, sauces, fruit juices, soups, mixed drinks and shakes
- mixing soft ingredients eg pancake batter or mayonnaise
- pureeing cooked ingredients eg for making baby food.
Perfect, the last option is exactly what I needed for. The hand blender is quite large but fairly thin so in terms of storage it doesn't really take up much rooma nd will fit in a kitchen draw. There are two parts to the hand blender, the motor unit and the blender bar. They come apart so it's easy to wash the blender bar without getting the motor unit wet. They just clip into each other and then release with buttons on the side.
What I love about this blender is that it is quick and easy to use. Once you have cooked the food that you want to blend, in my case, pear, carrot, butternut squash etc you put it (once it has cooled down) into the beaker that comes with the blender. The beaker is plastic and has measurement markings on the side and holds 500ml. Then you immerse the blade guard completely into the ingredients, switch the appliance on and blend the ingredients by moving the appliance slowly up and down and in circles. The food blended up very quickly, I was actually amazed at how quickly and how well it blended it down into a lovely puree, it was so simple and so effective. There are two speeds on this blender, normal and turbo. I only used the normal speed which worked really well so I can't see the need for the turbo but I guess if you have something quite thick the turbo would probably be the best.
The blended plugs into the wall and does not have a battery option but I did not find this a problem. In conclusion this is a great little blender for making your own lovely food!
Short name: Philips HR1361