Product Type: Russell Hobbs food processors
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Doesn't Everyone Need a Little Chopper?
Russell Hobbs 14568 Mini Food Processor
Member Name: koshkha
Russell Hobbs 14568 Mini Food Processor
Date: 22/12/10, updated on 24/12/10 (391 review reads)
Advantages: compact size, effective blade work, well considered storage lid
Disadvantages: It's a stretch of the imagination to really call it a 'food processor'
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.
Summary: I liked it so much I bought two
|Ease of use:|
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