When it comes to cooking in the kitchen I like to try and save time by letting machines do as much work for me as they can. I don't mean that I have a robot in the kitchen, what I mean by that is that if a machine can make life easier in the kitchen then I will give it a go.
One thing that really helps out when it comes to mixing things up quicker than by hand is this one mixer.
This is a good sized hand mixer, being about 272mm high by 180mm long and 85mm wide and giving 300watts of power from the well ventilated motor.
It has a five speed setting, controlled by the slider paddle on the top front of the unit. With simple speeds recognition being 1 – 5. with a burst power button on the top of the unit to give you a few seconds of extra power.
There are two holes in the underside of the unit which house the actual mixing attachments, those attachments being the dough mixers, for making bread and such like. The other set are your basic beaters, which look like a few wires bent into a bit of a pair shape in order to mix up what ever they plough into.
In front of the control switch there is another button that, when pressed, drops the attachments out, into a bowl so that they can be cleaned.
This is so easy to use and just the right size so that it not only gives a good mixing but it is light enough to use for long periods. The handle that goes over the main body is a good size which makes using it so simple, with the handle being the right size too.
The entire unit is easy to clean, although don't throw it into the washing up bowl as things will go pair shape. What you need to do is simply wipe it over with a damp cloth and away you go.
The attachments are as strong as the proverbial and lasted longer than I thought they would
this sells on the open market for about £15 - £20, which is money well spent for such a useful tool
I cook fairly well and enjoy baking cakes. When it was my dads 50th I decided to make him a football shirt shaped cake with 50 as the number in Blue for his favourite Everton strip. I thought making the cake would be much cheaper than buying one and it was until I realised I needed spatulas, cake tins and to top it off I bought this electric hand mixer. It did not work out cheaper but now I have a hand whisker for future use, yay! I have used this a handful of times and although it is not a very heavy duty machine it works find for my occasional home use.
So this is a 300 w machine and it has five speeds and a turbo function. There is an eject button for the whiskers which is good but the bad news is that these are not stainless steel and cant be put in the dishwasher. The whole machine feels rather weak and feeble but... it is still easier than beating by hand. You can buy a hand whisk for £3 and this cost £14 so you are not looking at a massive outgoing if you want to buy one and this has a year warranty too. In the box you get the mixer, two whisks, two beaters and a trusty instruction book.
The design of this machine is black and red, perfect for male cooks and bakers! I thought it looked quite cool being black and red but really it looks a bit tatty and tacky. No great shakes though. So what can it do? Well it makes very fluffy Yorkshire pudding mixtures and very good meringues! The whisk is light for me but my mum thinks it is quite heavy so who knows? It is quite bulky and the handle is quite chunky to hold on to. The buttons are well placed for easy operation though.
The major drawback for this is that the machine sounds like a power drill, it really does. It is so noisy and the motor sounds like it is going to overheat and blow if you operate it for anything more than 3 minutes at a time. It gets really hot too, definitely not a good point at all. I think this is because the motor is not very strong and its struggling. I only mix pudding and cake mix really, it's not like I am trying to mix concrete!
This review is of the Russell Hobbs 18507 hand-mixer and which currently retails at around 18 pounds.
The packaging explains that the mixer can perform a range of functions, whisking, whipping, kneading and mixing, and it is the latter that I primarily use. The mixer has five speed settings and comes with two beaters and two dough hooks. A basic instruction manual is also included with the mixer.
The mixer is primarily black, with a red panel at the top and three black buttons set into the red panel. The top button has the five available speed settings, and the off button, as well as the button to start the mixing and a boost button to give some extra power to the process.
In terms of the looks of the mixer, I think it looks fine in black and red, but I don't find that it feels overly robust, although it is at the cheaper end of the pricing range. In terms of noise, it is a little loud, but not excessively, so I don't find this either a negative or a plus.
Although I haven't tried it so can't comment in too much detail, as making bread is beyond my level of competence, the enclosed dough hooks can be connected to the mixer to knead dough.
However, in terms of what I use the mixer for - mixing cakes mainly - I've found that it copes really well. It has sufficient power to mix the ingredients, and it copes with eggs and batters perfectly sufficiently. The mixer is also relatively light-weight, so it doesn't start hurting the wrist after a couple of minutes usage.
There are some negatives however, the unit is actually sometimes too powerful, and the difference between the speed settings isn't really sufficient. There are occasions where even on the slowest mode cake mix will coming flying out of the bowl. It actually means that I rarely need to use the turbo option to give more power to the mixing, as the lowest settings are already sufficient.
I can imagine for those people who use the mixer for more liquid mixtures that this power setting problem will be much more of an issue. I don't use it for this, but I would say that it is likely to be a mixer much better suited to something like kneading than it is for mixing liquids.
In addition, even when trying to change setting, this is sometimes a little more cumbersome that necessary because of the design of the buttons which doesn't allow for easy changing. These settings are well located, but I feel that they could be better made to allow for changing being used to hold the mixer itself.
Cleaning the unit is however easy, the attachments are easily removed so they can be cleaned, and it's easy to wipe down the rest of the unit. Although I wasn't sure it was the most robust of units, I'm confident enough that for the usage I need it for that it would be reliable to last a while.
At the time of writing, this mixer can be purchased from Amazon for 18 pounds including free delivery, which seems to be about the standard price for this model. There is also now a model 18960 available, which might be a later model, but I don't know anything further, but that might also be worth looking at.
Although I'm perfectly content with this mixer, possibly as I don't use it very frequently, I suspect that there are better models on the market for the price which give more power over the various speed settings. With that extra control I'd highly recommend it, especially given that the unit looks good, but without that flexibility, I'd suggest considering another model.
I recently invested in a new hand blender and as I bake and cook a lot I decided to go for a Russell Hobbs rather than a Tesco's own (or equivalent) and was looking forward to having a bit more power at my disposal than I had previously had with my 10 year old and completely knackered model.
I actually bought mine from Argos and it was £16.99 in one of their sales (reduced from around the £24.99 mark), I notice you can buy it from Amazon for £17.99 at the moment.
Now in my opinion this blender is fantastic for some stuff and quite annoyingly awful for other things - it absolutely depends on what you are making and the reason for this is that although it claims to have 5 speeds it seems to me to have only fractional differences between the 5 - they are ALL super fast.
So, even on the very slowest speed making butter icing is virtually impossible without covering yourself in icing sugar. The first time this happened I actually ended up with most of the icing sugar in my hair and I was furious. It took forever to clean my kitchen. Since then I have had to mash the icing sugar into the butter with a fork before even contemplating switching on this blender and it is infuriating as butter icing is one of the things I make most often.
I am baffled by the power of the lowest speed setting on this hand blender. As you move the switch up through the (alleged) five speeds you can hardly hear or feel any difference, all five are just super super fast.
On the other hand, if you want to make meringue you can literally have amazing fluffy peaks in less than a minute because of the sheer power. Whipped cream is a doddle. Anything wet is pretty easy - although you do have to be careful still not to get covered in whatever you are blending - and deep bowls are preferable.
I have to say I do find this blender quite heavy to hold and it is definitely heavier than my old one, however, because I have to hold it for less time in general this is not too much of an issue.
The whisk blades come out very easy and the blender is very stylish to look at with the red and black panels, the lead is plenty long enough for what I need in the kitchen and it wipes clean very easily. My one big issue with this blender is the lack of a slow speed and it seems such a waste to have five speeds to switch between but none of them be a gentle beat.
So, on balance to be honest I am a bit disappointed in this hand blender and I don't think I would buy a Russell Hobbs again, I also wish I had read the Amazon reviews before purchasing this as they do seem a mixed bag with many people having the same issues as me. Just goes to show the value of doing your research first!
Short name: Russell Hobbs 18507