* Prices may differ from that shown
I enjoy cooking but I am definitely no Delia Smith. The best thing I like about cooking though is the eating part! I like to try out new recipes and experiment in the kitchen, however I do not always get to spend as much time in there as I would like. On a whim I went out and bought a rather expensive fabulous food processor, which is now redundant in my cupboard. The main reason I hated using it was the cleaning up! It had so many blades and compartments to clean, the thought of it alone frustrated me! Not only that, it is so cumbersome to keep getting out! I have a whole draw of food processor parts too, from plastic blades to small blades and various lids and tubes. When I saw the Russell Hobbs mini food processor and priced at £24.99; I thought I would give it ago. It could live on my unit and take up hardly any room, also being so small it would be much easier to clean!
*Price and availability*
I bought the food processor from Amazon and paid £24.99 for it.
*What's in the box?"
* 1 x Mini Processor with 200W motor.
* 1 x Stainless steel universal blade.
* 1 x Glass chopping bowl.
* 1 x Filter lid for food storage.
* 1 x Spatula .
First of all, the appearance of the machine is in keeping with my kitchen. It is stylish and fits in the corner nicely without looking out of place. I was a bit surprised at how big the machine was though! The machine only stands at around 28cm tall but it is 18cm wide. It is bigger than you think and looks smaller in photographs; however it is smaller than my super huge processor. The motor is run by a connection to the mains supply and there is a 1m cord to connect it up.
There is a button that you use to start the motor and turn the blades. It is a really easy to use machine, which is one of the main selling points of it. When I first unpacked the machine, I was a little surprised at how flimsy the piece of plastic was that attaches the blades to the motor. I cannot see it having a long life span. The good thing about this plastic though is that it fits neatly into the motor and fits securely. It is also really easy to clean and once I have used the machine, it is a case of clipping off the blade and throwing it in the bowl to wash. The bowl though cannot be washed in the dishwasher which is annoying and the lid part is rather big and awkward to fit in! Nevertheless, it is a lot easier than a big food processor.
The best thing about the food processor is that the bowl it comes with is glass. I have had bad experiences with my previous food processor bowl cracking due to being made from cheap plastic. It is sturdy and gives the food processor a bit of substance. It prevents it falling over and offers a firm steady base to chop on.
The blades are sharp and I was surprised at how well they chopped though certain items when being driven by only a 200W motor. The motor is powerful enough for the size of the machine, the problems comes from the height the blades are set at.
The blades run around 3-4mm off the base of the bowl which means that anything that falls underneath this will not get blended. I wanted to make a small amount of fruit drizzle for a dessert and used partly frozen fruit, the blade had no problem working it's way though the though fruit. When the large amounts of fruit had been blended, what was left in the bowl would not blend as it fell below the blade. I had to add my fruit to give the blades some resistance so that it would blend. I ended up with a lot more product than I actually wanted. This is a regular problem and it is rather annoying. The whole point of a mini blender should be to make mini portions as well as big ones!
The machine is not perfect and for £25.00 it is not all singing and dancing; however it does the job I bought it for and I do use it regularly for chopping onions and making sauces.
I purchased my Russell Hobbs Mini Food Processor about year ago now, as I usually use my Food Processor a lot and was getting fed up lugging out my full size one especially when I only wanted it to grind or blend a small quantity.
A friend of mine was given one for her birthday, and when I saw how small and compact it was I just had to have one. I know, women are just as bad as men for gadgets lol... Well I am anyway!
Being only two of us in my household, (apart from Christmas when the all the family get together) the Mini Food Processor is ideal. It's small enough for me to leave out on the worktop, without it getting in the way.
The first thing you will notice about the Food Processor is that it's very trendy and sleek looking. The bowl is made of clear glass, (I know... glass, I must admit that does worry me a little, as I have a horrid habit of dropping things lol, what can I say I'm a klutz!) and is shaped somewhat like a mini casserole dish. All the women out there will know what I mean by this. Apart from my worry of dropping it, on a plus side it does mean you will be able to put hot sauces into the blender, where you wouldn't be able to do this with plastic for fear of it cracking. The top of the Processor is chrome and matt black, and there is a nice feature in that the button is located on the top with two pitted grip areas on the side. I love this design it fits into the hand so nicely, and you depress the button with the palm of your hand. I must say it's not often I'm impressed with a products design, but with this one I am. It's a one movement job! By that I mean you don't have to push a button with one hand and hold the appliance still with the other, like you do with many larger blenders/processors. Just simply apply pressure with your palm to start, remove hand to stop. What could be simpler than that?
The blades simply drop onto the spindle, and you're ready to go. Another nice feature is that it also comes with its own storage lid. Ideal if you are making up sauces or a marinade.
The manufactures recommendations are that you don't process anything larger than 12mm that's half an inch, or fill liquids above half filled. Maximum fill is 700mls.
(Handy tip for keeping your chrome looking like new without any hard work or harsh chemicals: Toothpaste.. yep that's right I did say toothpaste. Put one small dollop (about the amount you would use on your toothbrush) onto a damp cloth and rub in circular motions, when the entire area is covered, take another damp cloth and rinse off. Buff up with a dry cloth! It really does work.. I have a chrome cooker and got fed up with having to clean it. Plus all the chrome cleaners aren't cheap. Then one day I just started experimenting with things I had at home, lemons, teabags etc lol... (I know I have way to much time on my hands haha... ) but toothpaste works brilliantly. Plus if you buy the Tesco blue and white stripe value range it's dirt cheap. :)
Now here's a couple of my own recipes: (I love experimenting with food :)
Herby Cheese Crust For Pork Chops:
1 slice of white bread per chop
1 inch square piece of cheese per chop
¼ teaspoon of chives per chop
¼ teaspoon of rosemary per chop
Starting with the cheese blend until crumbly, then add the bread. You will need to stop and start a few times to blend the bread with the cheese. When it resembles a moist crumble mixture add the herbs a blitz for a few seconds.
Prepare your chops by seasoning both sides with salt and pepper, and place into a backing tray. To the tray add some cider (it doesn't have to be a good brand it's just to add flavour to the meat and to keep it moist. On to the chops smear some English mustard. Then take the crumble mix and with a spoon, place this on top of the chops, pressing down as you cover them. Ideally you want it to be about half an inch thick. When all the chops are covered place in an oven at gas mark 4 for about 20 - 30 mins until cooked and the herby crust is golden brown. Cooking your chops this way will give you lovely moist meat; the cider can be strained and added to a meat stock to make gravy.
Homemade Mayonnaise (will make around about 300mls)
1 Whole egg
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of sugar
30 mls of white wine vinegar
300mls of vegetable oil
Into the processor place the egg, mustard, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar, blend for a few seconds and then start to add the oil a small bit at a time, until it starts to thicken and turn white, then add and stir for a second with a fork before putting lid back on and blending.
If you like garlic mayonnaise, add two cloves of garlic to the above recipe. For a lighter mayonnaise you can substitute the vinegar for lemon juice. I've found loads of recipes on the net for mayo, most of them having more oil than acidic content, and found they were either over bearing on the oil and very very heavy or were made up of two eggs and tasted very eggy. It took me ages to come up with just the right ingredients to get a non fail recipe, hope you enjoy.
Having found myself completely enthralled with Jamie's 30 Minute Meals last year, suddenly I was in dire need to a food processor! I duly told the parents who purchased this as a Christmas gift.
It's compact, quick and capable. Really really easy to assemble and use. I'm reliably informed by the other half that it's a doddle to clean as well (I cook, he washes - that's fair!). Admittedly it's not all singing and dancing, it is a simple food processor. There are no attachments for shredding or slicing. It's small and robust and has had no problem whizzing through the harder items (nuts, potatoes) that I have put in it. The bowl is small, so if you are looking at doing large batches of anything it can be problematic. There are only two of us so the space is ample. I've only had the product since christmas but I think it will last! It's not too loud, but does interfere with the telly box.
As I received this as a gift, I think it is fantastic value. However, if I was purchasing this myself I might have gone for a 'value' range proper food processor with all the attachments. Overall I would recommend the product, but do be aware that it is restrictive in the size and the fact that there are no attachments.
~My life as a domestic goddess~
I'm no stranger to the kitchen but I'm more inclined towards the thaw and serve approach to feeding and the 'bung it all together and see what happens' ethos rather than poring over cookbooks, buying the actual listed ingredients and then following the instructions. Life's too short - as the lovely Shirley Conran so famously quipped - to stuff a mushroom (although if it's a nice big Portobello mushroom I'll have a go).
Every great chef needs great tools - and perhaps every pitifully inadequate would-be domestic goddess needs them more than the great chef. As a kid I spent every Saturday morning baking with my grandmother and her electric mixer. Those two little metal beaters could pretty much do everything that she wanted and I was more than happy to 'lick the bowl' (these were the days before we became paranoid about salmonella). The old electric mixers faded away with time and suddenly everyone (except me) seemed to have a so-called food processor - a wonder of engineering and ingenuity that could do all manner of kitchen magic. I never particularly wanted one but when my mother-in-law died we inherited her Kenwood food processor. I think it's been out of the cupboard about 3 times in the 7 or 8 years we've had it. In between times it seems to have attempted to take over all our cupboards by encouraging its various plates and blades and assorted accessories to play hide and seek in all the nooks and crannies of the kitchen. Pretty much rejecting the conventional food processor route as altogether too much bloomin' fuss and nonsense, I moved on to hand held blenders - some more complex than others, all pretty good at nuking a soup and mostly rubbish at dealing with anything more solid. But you know life's precious and I wasn't losing sleep over my inadequacies with kitchen appliances.
~ The Times they are A-Changin'~
Bringing kitchen history up to date, I found myself a few weeks back confronted with the prospect of some serious (though hopefully quite short-term) dietary challenges. In a few weeks time I will have to embark on a very restricted low iodine diet for 2-3 weeks and since a lot of what I currently eat is going to be off the menu, some serious thought and preparation will be needed. I won't bore you with all the things I can't eat, just cut to the chase that it's going to entail a mostly 'made from scratch', mostly vegan (minus the soya) diet. Industrially prepared foods are off the menu because of the lack of information about what sort of salt has been used in their preparation. I decided to start well in advance with some practice recipes. I would kick off with having a go at making my own pesto. How hard could it be?
I took out my hand held blender - zapped the basil leaves and toasted pine nuts and then spent ten minutes de-gumming the blender head. Hubby helpfully went to dig the Kenwood food processor out of the cupboard. We looked at the tiny quantity of pesto we were trying to make and then at the massive size of the food processor and put it back in the cupboard. Hubby then spent twenty minutes manually mushing the ingredients together.
Faced with such a trauma I did what any good woman would - I went online shopping. With an image in my mind of myself zapping my own pasta sauces, creating yummy hummus and various vegetable dips, blasting the heck out of some of the less palatable vegetables and making yummy stewed fruit, I wanted a toy to bring my dreams alive.
~ Just what I wanted~
I was actually looking for a trendy toaster for my sister's Christmas present when I came across the Russell Hobbs mini food processor on the Sainsbury's website for a penny short of £40. It was large enough to do about a pint and a quarter of mushed up food but could manage much smaller quantities if necessary unlike the big food processors. It could handle firmer products than a hand blender. It seemed to be ideal for what I wanted. A bit of judicious googling and I'd halved the price on Amazon to £19.99 proving what I've always believed - that you should never take the first offer. I placed my order and went back to trying to clean up the mess I'd made in the kitchen.
I've just been online to check a few details and it's now only £16.99 so I've ordered another - that's how much I love this product (I live away from home during the week - I've bought the second for my 'other' kitchen)
~Road Testing Russell~
You can tell this was a few weeks ago because the order turned up promptly and without any fuss. I obviously missed the snow-bound warehouse trauma. I was quite excited to see what I'd bought and even more excited when I realised that I didn't really need an instruction book because the product was so simple and it was absolutely obvious that it could only go together in one way and only be used in one way. Bliss.
Inside the box are just a few simple pieces. There's a glass bowl - yes real glass, heavy stuff that won't scratch and go all nasty in the dishwasher. There's a storage lid for the bowl so that once you've made whatever you're making you don't have to scrape it out into another container - just remove the blade and seal the bowl with the plastic storage lid. The blade has a long spindle and two prongs, ultra-sharp as the cuts on my fingers will testify - don't throw it in the washing up bowl and forget that it's there. The blade fits onto a spike that comes up from the base of the glass bowl and it pokes up through the hole in the centre of the so-called processing lid. The final part is the motor which comes encased in a chrome coated unit with black rubberised panels on each side to make it easy to hold. Actually the motor isn't quite the final part - there's a silly little plastic spatula that I've probably already lost. Fully assembled it stands 28 cm high - about 11 inches in old money. Best of all, fully unassembled it goes back in the box it came in without having to be jiggled or forced into place.
You simply place the motor unit on top of the processing lid which has been shaped to hold it firmly in place, the motor engages with the spindle and all you do is push and hold down the big black button on the top. It's a 200W motor which will probably mean something to our more technical kitchen gadget gurus (that's you Nar) but means little to me other than it's got plenty of welly. You can hold it on constant zap or pulse it, whichever seems to do the best job. In just a few moments your ingredients will be well and truly chopped, or pureed depending on how soft they are and how long you hold the button down. This really isn't rocket science - push, zap, check it's the right consistency. That's all there is to it.
~Does it work?~
I've made pesto again - dead easy. I've zapped hummus to feed the five thousand in just seconds. I've created some lovely vegetarian dips and pates and when I couldn't find the hand blender, I've liquidised soups (although given the option, I'd stick with the hand blender to reduce washing up). I'm looking forward to making lots of different pasta sauces and I'm going through my dusty and underused veggie cookbooks in search of zappable recipes.
There's no great variation in what you can do with this lovely little beast - it's a bit of a one trick pony (rather than a field of ponies rushing towards every opportunity) which makes me feel that the term 'food processor' is a bit over the top for such a simple machine. I wouldn't fancy its chances to make meringue or knead bread dough or to finely slice carrots like your all singing all dancing big cumbersome food processor would, but for smaller volumes of chopped and zapped product, it's a definite winner. I would suggest this would also be great for baby food.
~Health and Safety is Everyone's Responsibility~
In the interests of not leading you astray I forced myself to read the instruction book and it does come with some interesting warnings. Firstly don't over fill it - if you want to do a lot of zapping, do it in batches or get a big food processor. Overfilling can break it and probably leave your kitchen decorated in goop. Don't use anything TOO hot - they say over 40C, so that's another reason to take care with soups. Don't chop raw meat - as a non meat-eater I don't need to worry about that but the instructions say fully cooked only. My guess is the risk of cross-contamination with other foods but it is only a guess. If you are a psychopathic murderer looking to reduce your prey to smaller pieces, buy a mincer. Don't use it to crush ice or zap big lumps of hard stuff. And finally - well it's the last I want to report - don't run the motor for more than a minute at a time or you risk creating the Higgs Boson particle and destroying the universe as we know it (or possibly overheating the motor).
The glass bowl is dishwasher-proof but the other parts should be hand washed. I've already got that wrong then but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.
The instruction book offers a few suggestions of what to make and they are pretty much in line with my chop-and-pulp guidelines - pesto, tapenade (yum), various sauces, smoothies and lassis and other thick liquids or runny solids.
~ In conclusion~
Ladies and Gentlemen, this mini food processor won't change your life but it may well bring a bit more fun to your kitchen antics. I'm a lot less worried about having to stick to my low iodine diet now that I've got this handy gadget to zap everything and I thoroughly recommend it for mid-volume blending, chopping and mushing. It won't fully replace a hand blender or a big multi-function food processor but it's already a firm favourite in our kitchen.
Short name: Russell Hobbs 14568