Friday, 27 August 2010

Blender Love: Challenging Robbie

My old blender is not only ancient and decrepit but also bottom of the range, with a wobbly base and a plastic jug. We've had it more years than I can remember. It may even have been "inherited" (read "liberated") from my parents before we got married, now I think of it… and that was over 15 years ago!

When you switch it on the blades kick in at full speed, throwing half the ingredients up the sides of the jug and onto the underside of the lid where they stick, impudent and unrepentant, until I pause, lift the lid, and force them back down towards the blades with a spatula, before blitzing again. This cycle is repeated, with increasing frustration and increasingly obscene swearing until Pete takes over, with a sigh and banishes me from the kitchen.

The old thing struggles with anything but the softest of ingredients and certainly doesn't cope well with chunks of solid fruit let alone ice-cubes. Which is a shame, as I rather like blending ice-cubes into a smoothie or lassi on a hot summer day, something I have stopped doing for fear of the motor exploding. So terrifying is the idea of throwing solid chunks of green apple into it's maw that I've switched to using the Magimix to make Indian green chutney, something one would usually do in a blender.


Still, it does cope with smoothies, as long as I stick to really soft fruit – no ice and no frozen fruit.

So, you can probably imagine my utter delight, ecstasy, elation, euphoria, exhilaration, glee, hysteria, joyousness, jubilation… when I was sent this extremely sexy Philips Robust blender.

I wasn't asked to post about it on my blog, but simply to try it out and let them know what I think. But actually, having now used it a few times, I'm so excited about it, I have to share!

Robust Robbie

I'd actually read about this particular model (HR2181) online some months previously, so I already knew all about the dual-blade system (two stainless-steel serrated blades), the auto-accelerate function, the five different speed settings and the pulse option. And the 2-litre scratch-proof glass jar.

The auto-accelerate function is particularly cunning, especially in combination with the two blades which rotate in opposite directions and at different speeds. Instead of throwing the contents of the jug up the sides, the blades start rotating slowly, so they are able to bite into the ingredients, and the speed is gradually increased in a roaring crescendo of power!

(And no, I didn't just lift that paragraph from some marketing blurb, I wrote it myself).

"Robust Robbie", as I've named him, arrived the day before we left for a week's holiday in the Lake District and, persuaded against taking him with us, I was impatient to put Robbie through his paces when we got home.

I decided to make his very first test fairly straightforward – a fruit smoothie. Of course, I had to give him a bit of a challenge so I included some large, rock-solid frozen strawberries, straight out of the freezer and given absolutely no time to defrost.

Test 1 – Fresh and Frozen Fruit Smoothie

I love smoothies, preferably thick'n'gloopy and preferably home-made. I nearly always use banana as the base and add whatever other fruit I fancy and have available.

smoothie ingredients: fresh banana, fresh pear and some previously frozen fresh whole strawberries

PhilipsBlender-8330 PhilipsBlender-8332 PhilipsBlender-8333
probably no need to hold the lid down but old habits die hard

PhilipsBlender-8336 PhilipsBlender-8342 PhilipsBlender-8341
and in a few quick moments, it's done


Test 2 – Chocolate Bar Milkshake

Chatting to my a friend at work, I swooned a little about my new amour, Robbie and she immediately suggested a chocolate bar milkshake.

Her idea reminded me instantly of my second visit to Market Kitchen during which King Adz blitzed some Dime bars to make a quick and easy milkshake.

A quick scout around the house revealed an elderly mars bar and a battered kit kat. Into the jug they went with a pint of milk.

Choc Milkshake-8349 Choc Milkshake-8352
blink and they're gone

I turned Robbie on for just a few short seconds and my milkshake was ready.

In retrospect, biscuity bars like kit kat have no place in a milkshake – the biscuit texture remains even when blended to smithereens.

Next time I'll try a Snicker bar or some plain chocolate or some chocolate covered Turkish delight.

What do you suggest?

Choc Milkshake-8353

Test 3 – Chicken Liver Paté

For Robbie's third test, I made vast amounts of my chicken liver and port paté - the jug was almost full of cooked chicken livers and onions and artery-hardening amounts of butter. As expected, I was left with a smooth, pourable liquid in no time. Success!

I've become very attached to Robbie in the short time he's been with us. I stroke his elegant silver body on passing and admire his sleek glass jug on the draining board.

I'm looking for more challenges for him, perhaps mum's green mango and coriander chutney – my old blender simply can't manage solid chunks of the sharp, hard green apples I use in place of raw mangoes.

I want to try some thick sauce and dips too as I hear from other testers that Robbie may meet his match with such sticky, viscous challenges.

If you have any ideas on recipes to Challenge Robbie, please let me know!


The Shed said...

Malteaser milkshake, with a big scoop of cheapo vanilla ice cream too. get involved.

I'd give my right arm for a pot of chicken liver and port pate right now, send me some please!

Kavey said...

Malteser milkshake sounds gooood! Must try!
The pate is sooo easy, do try it. It doesn't take long to make but does need an overnight in the fridge to firm up.

Debs said...

Love the sound of chocolate smoothie. I'd try out Marathon (if you can still get them), Mars bars (although I think this may be better warmed through after blitzing) and definitely a toblerone!

Kavey said...

@Debs - Marathons were renamed to Snickers, that I mention above, many years ago. I still mentally think of them as Marathons too, though! The Mars bar is what I used in the pictures above. Toblerone sounds like a fab idea!

S Lloyd said...

Used to have a similar blender. Helped me a lot. Thanks for the recipes

Lisa said...

You get the best presents!

BSG said...

Brilliant! We got a magimix recently (a v generous wedding present)and have been putting its blades to the grindstone ever since - we shred everything! Very pleased we're not the only ones to be besotted by our new kitchen gadget :)

Kavey said...

@S Lloyd, glad the recipes are of use! Happy blending!

@Lisa, oh yes, I truly do!

@BSG, we bought a magimix processor a couple of years back, after umming and aahing about the price, and have remained besotted with it ever since, we use it regularly and love it!