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When my old hand blender broke I bought a Tesco value one to replace it as it was very cheap but even though it wasn't awful it wasn't as quick and sharp as my old one so I decided to buy another one and use the Tesco one as a spare.
I ended up buying a Russell Hobbs one instead as it was only a few pounds more than the Tesco one at £9.99. Like the Tesco one it is pretty simple and is just a big lump of plastic that has the blades on the bottom of it to blend food.
Unlike with the Tesco one this had a better length of cable so I am able to plug it in and still reach the cooker which was a problem with the Tesco one. The blades are really sharp and they haven't had a problem with blending anything that I have thrown at it. I use this for soups, sauces and I have even used it for things like pine nuts to make my own pesto and it bends everything to a smooth mush.
It has two speed settings and these are different enough to be noticeable so when using it with soup I always use the slower one so there is less chance of it splashing up and scalding me. It does say that you aren't meant to use this with really hot liquids but I do all the time and the plastic hasn't melted or warped. I do always try and be really careful though so as to not splash myself.
I like that the bottom of this blender can be removed from the top for easy cleaning. With the Tesco one I have to just hold it under the tap to clean but with this one being detachable it can be put in the dishwasher with all the rest of the dishes.
I use my hand blender all the time and can't imagine not having it to cook. It does work best with softer food in liquid but it is only a blender and for harder foods and vegetables you would be best to use a processor but for soups, sauces and home made baby food it can't be beaten.
When it came to weaning our littlest man we decided to go down the same route we did with our eldest - baby led weaning. This basically means baby doesn't eat anything that they don't put in their mouths themselves and is focused on finger foods. Our eldest loved this and we found weaning to be stress free. With our youngest however it took him a while to grasp onto chunks of food and he would get so frustrated that meal times became a nightmare. He was hungry but couldn't get it in his mouth! We decided that traditional weaning (pureed fruit and veg) would have to be the weaning method of choice until his hand eye co-ordination improved.
We didn't want to have to rely on jars of baby food and so to get the fruit and veg into a consistency that he could manage we had to invest in some kind of blender. I didn't want to fork out too much money on one as I was intending to revert back to baby led weaning as soon as he'd figured out what to do, and so I was pleased to find this Russell Hobbs hand blender for just under £13 in Sainsburys. Russell Hobbs is a name I'm familiar with and is synonymous with good quality appliances and for the price we couldn't really refuse.
It's not really much to look at - it's extremely basic but that also means it's simple to use. It's made from white plastic and has a decent length cable enabling you to use it without having to hover too close to the plug. It has two buttons for the two different speeds and you simply press the button you want and release it when the job is done. We simply chucked our fruit or veg in a jug and stuck the blender in and let it do it's job. And it did! It easily made the fruit and veg into a nice puree suitable enough for a baby.
I was nervous about getting a hand held blender as I was convinced it would make a mess but I was pleasantly surprised. Even on the faster setting we haven't had any splashes up the walls like I'd feared! We used the faster setting to get a really smooth consistency and when our baby got a bit older and was able to cope with a lumpy serving we just used the first setting (he did revert back to baby led weaning but there were still times it was easier and quicker to puree him up some of our meat and veg!) We found that it coped with tender pieces of meat but we did need to use the faster setting and place the blender directly on top of the pieces to ensure they were cut up finely enough. We've also used it to puree soups and to blend fruit for smoothies and always had successful results.
The bottom half of the blender twists off for washing and this can be reattached easily. We just wash it in fairy liquid with the rest of the dishes but it is dishwasher safe. We found it really easy to clean and the stainless steel blades have held up well so far.
It's a nice size which is great considering you're blending by hand but it's also handy for storing away without taking over half your kitchen.
My only negative is it is extremely noisy and if I'm preparing food when the baby is in his highchair in the kitchen with me, it makes him cry! Although I guess that's to be expected of an appliance of this nature.
Short name: Russell Hobbs 14452