Best Food Processor Guide


Bosch MCM68861GB Food Processor

Posted on April 6th, 2016

Looking for a 4 litre food processor? Sadly there isn’t one on the market for the domestic kitchen that size – but there is one which comes very close. The 3.9 litre Bosch MCM68861GB Food Processor is one of the most popular Bosch food processors sold in the UK. That capacity is matched by its power and versatility: it has a 1250 watt motor, and it comes with an impressive set of ten different attachments.

Bosch MCM68861GB Food Processor review

First impression

The Bosch MCM68861GB is described as being made out of brushed stainless steel, although that’s not completely true: the front fascia is indeed stainless steel, but the main body of the base is made out of grey plastic, with a dark grey trim. There are two spaces moulded into the lower aspect of the sides – these serve as carrying handles – and there is a cord storage built into the base. It’s a simple, uncluttered design which avoids looking boxy or slab sided, and will suit most kitchens. One of the nice things about grey food processors is that they will not acquire that pale, washed-out looking yellow tone which white food processors and kitchen equipment tend to acquire with age.

The focus point of the front panel is the large control knob, with Bosch logo towards the bottom left. Surrounding the control knob is a dark grey plastic trim, indicating the speed settings. The front of the knob is the same brushed metal as used on the base, but the rim is actually made out of rubber, ensuring that greasy or slippery hands will still be able to operate the food processor without problem.

Instead of non-slip feet, the MCM68861GB has rubber suction feet underneath. These tend to be much more effective than simple non-slip rubber nodules and especially if the work surface is damp, although they can make it a little trickier to reposition the food processor once it’s been set in place.

In terms of a first impression though, the most striking feature regarding this food processor is its stats. At 43 centimetres tall and with a 1250 watt motor, this is one of the most powerful food processors available in the UK. With a 3.9 litre bowl though, it’s not surprising that so much power is needed to push the attachments through a considerable volume of ingredients: the MCM68861GB has a maximum working capacity of 2 kg of dry ingredients, or 2.4 litres of liquids. Incredibly, that’s just over half a gallon, so if you’re a soup fan and like to make large batches in one go, you’d be hard-pressed to find a food processor more suited to that task.

The 1250 watt motor is situated directly underneath the bowl and does not extend much further than the bottom of the bowl; the base of the food processor itself measures 30 x 25 cm. One could only imagine how big its footprint would be if the motor were housed in a neighbouring compartment, but Bosch really have done their very best to ensure a food processor with this capacity takes up as little room in the kitchen as possible. Of course, it goes without saying that a food processor of this capacity is originally designed for larger households and families.

In the box

The other extremely impressive element regarding this food processor is the sheer amount of attachments included. In addition to the knife blades, you get a blender, a mini-chopper, a geared whisk, dough blades, a juicing press for citrus fruits, and three stainless steel discs for slicing, shredding, and Julienne style chipping. There’s also a disc support, which carries the stainless steel discs.

This may sound like a lot of things which will simply take up room in the kitchen, but that’s not the case at all. Included in the box is a specially-designed accessory bag which can safely accommodate almost all of the attachments. And what’s most impressive is that the bag itself can be stored inside the food processor’s bowl. Bosch really have done their homework here.

Finally there’s a stirrer tool and an instruction manual, which unfortunately doesn’t have a recipe section. There is, however, a 2 year warranty for parts and labour.

Attachments

The main tool, the knife blades, do not consist of a single component. Instead, they are embedded into a small plastic collar, which is secured to a plastic pillar. This pillar then slots over the drive shaft. It also accommodates the dough blades, which are secured in exactly the same way.

The knife blades are a particularly mean-looking gadget, and it’s not surprising that Bosch have coined their design as “Supercut” technology. Unlike most food processors, they are serrated, which means that when the blade strikes food particles, the contact area is smaller in comparison to a smooth cutting edge. Consequently, the smaller point of contact means that the food particles are struck with a relatively greater amount of force, ensuring that the MCM68861GB will cut through fibrous vegetables with ease. As for the dough blades or kneading tool, these simply consist of a pair of blunt plastic spurs. They incorporate ingredients together and move them around the bowl without slicing into them as harshly as sharpened blades. They are perfect for making pizza and pasta dough, not to mention the dough for home-made bread. The fact that the bowl can accommodate an incredible 2 kg of dough means that you’re guaranteed good sized loaves (or lots of rolls).

Also included with this food processor is a 1.5 litre blender with a working capacity of the same amount, allowing you to make delicious soups, smoothies and milkshakes with ease. However, it is made of plastic, which means that soups and other liquids must be left to cool to room temperature before they can be blended.

You would be forgiven for thinking that a grinder is included with the MCM68861GB, but it isn’t. That smaller attachment is actually a mini chopper, or universal cutter, as it is styled by Bosch. It’s designed for chopping smaller amounts of food, such as garlic, onion and herbs, and its plastic body means that unlike a glass grinder, it’s not suitable for grinding spices and coffee beans, although it is still suitable for grinding nuts. It doesn’t have quite the same functionality as a specifically-designed mini chopper such as the Kenwood CH180, which has an ‘oil drip’ opening so that you can gradually add ingredients during operation, but it’s still great for chopping individual items and smaller amounts of food which would simply be too small for the 3.9 litre bowl.

As for slicing and shredding, three stainless steel discs are included. These do not fit directly onto the drive shaft, but have to be slotted onto a plastic mounting disc. There’s two reversible discs for slicing and shredding – one fine, one coarse – and another disc for ‘Julienne’ style chipping, which is brilliant for preparing delicious home-made French fries in a matter of seconds. The large 3.9 litre bowl has plenty of room to hold large quantities of processed ingredients without them clumping together, and you won’t have to keep stopping and starting in order to empty it. For parents with larger families who want everyone in the household to eat healthy, home-cooked meals but do not have the time to prepare large quantities of vegetables by hand every evening, the time-saving usefulness of these discs speaks for itself.

Speaking of healthy, the MCM68861GB comes with a citrus press, allowing you to easily prepare freshly squeezed orange juice – or lime juice, or grapefruit juice. Simply push down each half of a citrus fruit onto the rotating press, and the machine will do the rest.

The last attachment in the box, apart from the useful attachment bag, is the geared whisk. This consists of one wire metal whisk that slots over the drive shaft. It’s a bit more intricate than whipping discs, which usually simply consist of a rippled plastic disc. One of its advantages is that the whole attachment itself rotates around the bowl in the opposite direction of the whisk, rather like the planetary mixing action on a stand mixer such as a Kenwood chef. Whipping cream and whisking egg whites for meringues and mousses becomes as easy as turning a switch.

Use

While most food processors tend to have just two speed settings, the MCM68861GB has four – and two pulse modes, too. Operating it is very easy: simply turn the control knob clockwise to select one of the four speeds. Turning the dial anticlockwise from the ‘off’ position to the ‘M’ will activate the pulse mode, which engages the food processor at top speed for as long as the knob is held in that position. However, turning the knob fully clockwise to the ‘Pulse’ mode will activate an automatic pulse mode, which engages the motor intermittently at top speed. Next to the control knob is an LED indicator, which glows red when the food processor is switched on, and flashes if you switch it on without the lid being properly attached.

The food processor is also safe to use. It features an interlocking safety mechanism, which means that for bowl attachments, it won’t turn on if the bowl’s lid is not securely fastened. The majority of the accessories and attachments are dishwasher safe, but some parts such as the blender blades and the whisk’s gear components are not; be sure to check the instruction manual before loading them up, as putting them in the dishwasher may blunt sharp edges and/or damage certain components. Be careful when washing up and handling the attachments, as the cutting edges are extremely sharp.

What can I make?

The MCM68861GB can be used to prepare countless different dishes. The ‘Supercut’ knife blades allow you to slice and shred even the toughest vegetables for delicious soups and curries, and the large bowl means that you can make quantities which simply wouldn’t be possible in a standard, mid-sized food processor in a single session. The same goes for the slicing and shredding discs, which allow you to process foods for soups, salads and curries with ease. And as the name implies, you can also make honest, home-made chips with the Julienne style chipping disc.

The geared whisk can be used to make whipped cream, mouses and meringues, and the dough blades is designed for preparing up to 2 kilograms of bread, pizza and pasta dough. And don’t forget the blender, which can be used to make milkshakes, smoothies and cocktails, and of course, the universal cutter/mini chopper attachment, which will tackle garlic, onion, herbs, meat, cheese, fruit, and vegetables.

While the MCM68861GB can certainly be used for preparing the batter for pancakes and Yorkshire puddings, and of course the breadcrumbs and mixtures for food coatings, it has rather mixed feedback when used for cake mixture (pun thoroughly intended). Several users have reported that cakes were a bit of a disappointment, and that if your niche in the kitchen is baking, then a stand mixer would be a better choice.

Verdict

Minor complaints aside, this is still a food processor with a lot amount of tricks up its sleeve, not to mention the fact that the inclusion of a blender and a mini chopper save you from having to buy such appliances separately. If we were to sum up the Bosch MCM68861GB in one word, then that word would probably be volume. It’s easy to assume that its size and capacity speak for itself, but Bosch actually states in the manual that it can be used for non-industrial, semi-commercial purposes, such as for boarding houses, small hotels, and employee kitchens. Therefore if you are looking for a food processor which will easily help you prepare large quantities of food for big families or small businesses, then the Bosch MCM68861GB is one of very few food processors which can deliver.

 


Why does my new food processor smell?

Posted on April 3rd, 2016

What exactly is that new food processor smell, and more to the point, why is it even there? You’ve just spent a chunk of money on the best food processor you could get your hands on. It arrives at the door; you unpack it, set it up in your kitchen, and painstakingly find a home in the kitchen for each of the attachments it came with (unless it’s the Philips HR7761/01 of course, which allows you to store the attachments in the bowl).

You load it up with the ingredients for a simple recipe – nothing too complicated, but certainly something which will demonstrate its capability. You fire it up, and there’s a curious odour – and it has nothing to do with the ingredients in the bowl.

So does that mean you need to send it back? For many new food processors, this is a common occurrence, and not necessarily indicative of a malfunction. The ‘new food processor smell’ is often simply the natural result of a small amount of the lubricant inside the motor being burned off as part of the food processor’s first use. Of course, when making something in a brand new food processor, the smell of burning chemicals is hardly the smell one would hope for, but should eventually disappear.

For a conclusive explanation, check the instruction manual which arrived with your food processor, and if necessary, consult the manufacturer. If the smell does not disappear or there shouldn’t be such a smell at all, then it may be a sign that something’s not quite right. If you think that an electrical fault is responsible for the bad smell, then you should stop using the food processor immediately, unplug it, and consult the instruction manual and/or the manufacturer. If you have proof of purchase and the device is still under warranty and has been used in accordance with its instructions, then the manufacturer may repair or replace the food processor free of charge.


What’s the difference between a compact food processor and a mini chopper?

Posted on April 3rd, 2016

In this day and age there is a device for every purpose in the kitchen – there is no ‘one size fits all’ appliance for food preparation tasks.

Compact food processors and mini choppers are no exception to this rule, and the different terminology is not simply a marketing tool: they really do fulfil different purposes.

So what’s the difference? A compact food processor is a food processor which retains most of the functionality of its larger siblings, except that it has simply been designed to be small. It may still be able to do many different things and may be supplied with a similar albeit modest array of attachments in comparison, but a compact food processor is usually aimed at households of 1-2 people. Typical reasons for buying such a device are that compact food processors are lighter, take up less room on kitchen work surfaces, and are likely to be cheaper. For some people, it’s more convenient to simply leave a compact food processor permanently out on the kitchen worktop, instead of having to move a bulkier one in and out of a kitchen cupboard each time it is needed.

On the other hand, mini choppers are best thought of as a sidekick to a larger food processor or mixer. Their capacity means that they simply cannot process ingredients in a way that a compact or a standard food processor can. For example, with a bowl capacity of 350 ml – little more than the volume of a fizzy drinks can – the Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper is hardly going to be used to chop up a bowl of firm vegetables for a batch of soup.

So what are they good for? Mini choppers are best used for making small dishes and condiments, such as sauces, dips, purées, guacamole, pesto, baby food and chutney, and for preparing small portions of foods and garnishes, such as chopped herbs. They are also the obvious choice for processing individual things which would simply be too small for the average food processor, such as a single chilli, and they chopping up a single item such as an onion for the frying pan an extremely easy task.

Mini choppers will help you avoid the burning sensation on your fingers when cutting up a chilli, and they will also save you from getting watery eyes when cutting up an onion. Bearing in mind that food odours can linger in plastic contains even after they have been washed, mini choppers are also the obvious solution for keeping onions away from your main food processor’s bowl.

Many food processors also come with a mini chopper attachment. This may look like a grinder attachment, but usually isn’t quite as versatile due to the fact that the jar is made out of plastic instead of glass. Consult the instruction manual to find out the extent to which you can grind stuff in them: rigid spices are likely to discolour the plastic, and some can’t be used as grinders at all.

There’s still very good reason for a household of 5 or 6 people to buy a compact food processor, even if there’s already a larger food processor in the kitchen, and under these circumstances, a compact food processor could be used as a cheat device similarly to a mini chopper. Take a spaghetti bolognese for example. Where a mini chopper is too small to chop up the onions for the frying pan, a compact food processor is likely to be big enough without having to get a bulkier 3 litre food processor out of the cupboard.

In summary, a compact food processor will still function as a full size food processor, but a mini chopper is best left for the little things.


Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper

Posted on April 3rd, 2016

What would it look like if you could shrink a food processor in the washing machine? The Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper is surely the closest answer to that question. It looks almost exactly the same as a normal-sized food processor: it’s got two spinning blades in the centre of a plastic bowl – but what sets it apart is that it’s around a third of the size of a mid-range food processor. It’s the ultimate tool for quickly preparing condiments, side dishes, sauces, and small quantities of ingredients.

Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper Review

The Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper is by far the most popular product in its class. It received a big boost of interest when TV culinary legend Delia Smith endorsed it with a Delia Cheat Gadget award.
Is that award justified? Absolutely. It’s a brilliant little gadget for those smaller food preparation tasks where getting the food processor out would be too difficult, or for which it would simply be too big. At only 11.8 cm x 19 cm x 14.5 cm, the CH180 Mini Chopper doesn’t take up much room at all. While it can easily be stored in a kitchen cupboard, its small footprint means that it may be easier to just leave it out, tucked in the corner of the kitchen on the worktop so that you can get to it quickly when you need to use it.

The CH180 has a 350 ml bowl and is driven by a powerful 300 watt motor, with two speed settings. To put this into perspective, the Kenwood FP120 compact food processor has an 800 ml working capacity bowl and a 400 watt motor. Considering that the CH180 has a working bowl capacity less than half that of the FP120, but only 25% less power, it just goes to show that the CH180 Mini Chopper directs a considerable amount of power to its bowl in comparison to a small size, standard scale food processor. Presumably it’s because the CH180’s smaller blades need that extra bit of power behind them in relation to their size, but make no mistake, it means business.

Use

That being said, it’s no substitute for a food processor. Other than the knife blades, there are no additional attachments available for the CH180. Kenwood advises that you should not use it to process or grind rigid items such as ice cubes, coffee beans, or hard spices. It can’t be used for turning granulated sugar into caster sugar, and it certainly can’t be used to make pastry or dough. Its maximum bowl capacity is 150 grams of food or 350 ml of fluids, which is not much more than the contents of a fizzy drinks can – and Kenwood also advises that you shouldn’t fill the bowl up with liquids more than half way.

So what does it do best? The CH180 is best thought of as a compliment to a standard sized food processor, and as a compliment to the kind of meals which a standard sized food processor can prepare. It’s brilliant for preparing sauces, dips, purees, guacamole, pesto and chutney, and the lid has a specially-designed ‘oil drip’ lid for making mayonnaise and other sauces which require ingredients to be added gradually. Not only can you chop herbs and spices, you can even chop small portions of vegetables, although you will need to cut them into segments or chunks so that they will fit in the bowl. It’s perfect for quickly chopping up an onion for the frying pan, although you should be a little more reserved with the power button when chopping firmer vegetables such as carrots or swedes. Nevertheless, the CH180 is the obvious tool for chopping small portions of food, especially for those in the kitchen whose hand-eye coordination or arthritis makes that task difficult to do by hand. You can even chop small portions of meat – perfect for making baby food. Whatever you use it for, the trick to making sure things don’t get stuck or miss the blades is to leave a reasonable amount of free space in the bowl so that they have space to move around.

The CH180 has two pulse-style speed settings, and its operation is very easy. To the left of the bowl on the top of the unit is a big grey button – press and hold it down halfway in order to select the first speed setting, and all the way down in order to select the second speed setting. Disassembling it is very easy – there are ultimately only four components: the base, the bowl, the blades and the lid. There’s also a one year included warranty, and in the box you’ll find a registration card for taking advantage of it.

The bowl and the blades are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, but do take care if cleaning the blades by hand as they are extremely sharp, and in order to avoid scratching the bowl, it’s probably best to use a silicon spoon or spatula instead of a metal one when scraping the sides. The CH180 has a safety interlock system which means it cannot be switched on unless the lid is securely fastened, and there are four rubber feet underneath in order to stop it from slipping on the worktop. Its cable is about 3 – 4 feet in length, which may feel a bit long on a device with no cable storage facility when trying to put it away, but still, too long is better than too short.

Verdict

It seems odd to talk about storing the CH180 – it’s so useful, you probably won’t want to keep it in a cupboard. It’s kind of a hybrid device – it’s about the size of a grinder, but you can’t really grind stuff in it, and nor is it a substitute for a food processor. Ultimately it deserves its name as a mini chopper – not simply because it’s small and compact, but because it fulfils a rather niche role in the kitchen. It can tackle portions and individual items of food which would simply be too small on their own for a standard-sized food processor, and it’s no more inconvenient than a chopping board and a knife. In fact, in some ways, it’s even more convenient: say goodbye to watery eyes and the burning sensation when chopping up a chilli or an onion. We think it’s brilliant.


Kenwood FDP613 Food Processor

Posted on April 3rd, 2016

The Kenwood FDP613 Food Processor is one of the most popular 3 litre food processors sold in the UK, and one of the most popular food processors produced by Kenwood, which has been making electronic goods for the British market since 1947. Its large capacity bowl, variable speeds, 1000 watt motor, and good set of included attachments should allow you to tackle almost anything in the kitchen.

Kenwood FDP613 Food Processor Review

First impression

The FDP613 has a plastic base which is white at the front and on the top, and with grey side panels. All of these surfaces are glossy, making the base easy to wipe clean. Two spaces are moulded into the lower aspect of the side panels which serve as carrying handles. The corners of each panel are rounded and prevent the FDP613’s base from looking boxy and slab-sided, which is a nice touch. Housed in one of the rear corners is an internal cord storage compartment – once you have finished using the food processor, simply push the cable back inside the base. In the centre of the front panel is a white plastic control knob, beneath which is the Kenwood logo. Printed on the front of the bowl and the front of the blender jug are measuring units in millilitres and fluid ounces, allowing you to measure straight into them.

Underneath the food processor are ventilation grills for keeping the motor cool, and four plastic suction feet which keep it steady on the kitchen worktop when in use. They are very effective, especially when the work surface is slightly damp, although this can make it a little trickier to reposition the food processor once it’s been set in place – you can’t simply get away with sliding it along the worktop, as you might be able to do with rubber feet, for example.

Kenwood have designed the FDP613 to take up as little room as possible in the kitchen. The motor is situated directly below the bowl in a base which does not extend much further than the bottom of the bowl itself. The whole device measures 21 x 22 x 40 cm, and weighs 3.6 kg. It’s relatively light in comparison to the smaller, stainless steel 2.1 litre Kenwood FPM250, which weighs 4.1 kg. The only downside in relation to space is that the FDP613’s bowl attachments cannot be stored in the bowl when not in use. Well, some of the can, but you won’t be able to pack all of them in, unlike the Philips HR7761/01.

As one might expect, the FDP613 is designed for larger households. Its 3 litre bowl has a maximum working capacity of 1.5 litres, meaning it will easily make five 300 ml portions of soup in one go, for example. In combination with a 1000 motor, it should easily be able to handle larger families’ food processing needs. At the same time, it’s the obvious choice for the working professional who wants to prepare large quantities of food over the weekend for the freezer, which can then be taken to work or to the gym throughout the week.

In the box

In the box you’ll find the food processor base, the bowl, knife blades, the blender, a geared whisk, a dough tool, and two stainless steel discs for slicing and grating. There’s also a mini bowl and mini blade attachment, and a registration card in order to help you take advantage of the 1 year warranty.

The FDP613 is designed to run on 220-240 volts, and is fitted with a 3 pin British plug, so you will have to buy the relevant adaptor should you ever have to take it abroad.

Attachments

Arguably the cleverest attachment included with the FDP613 is the ‘mini bowl’. This is simply a smaller bowl which fits within the main 3 litre bowl, and comes with its own pair of knife blades. Its size ensures that smaller batches of ingredients will actually come into contact with the blades, instead of bouncing around the 3 litre bowl without being processed properly.

One of the other more useful attachments is the blender, which has a maximum capacity of 1.5 litres and fits onto the base in lieu of the bowl. It has an extra 20% capacity – 300 ml – in comparison to the blender supplied with Kenwood’s mid-range food processors, such as the FPP225. The blender is made of plastic, and therefore cannot accommodate hot soups straight from the pan – they should be left to cool down to room temperature. This is a minor inconvenience, and does not deter from the fact that the blender will make perfectly smooth soups, milkshakes and smoothies.

The geared whisk is an excellent tool, and a significant improvement on the so-called whisking tools, which usually simply consist of a rippled plastic disc. The geared whisk, however, has two interlocking wire whisks which spin together rather like a hand-held electronic whisk. But that’s not all: the entire whisk attachment itself rotates around the inside of the bowl, rather like the planetary mixing action of a Kenwood Chef. This allows the FDP613 to make perfect meringues and whipped cream.

The dough tool consists of a pair of shortened, blunt plastic spurs in much the same shape as the knife blades. The main difference of course is that it incorporates ingredients without slicing into them. Not only can you make pizza and pasta dough, but the larger bowl means that you can easily prepare dough for large loaves of bread, unlike some smaller food processors.

You’ll also find two reversible stainless steel discs in the box – one for thin slicing and thin grating, and another for thick slicing and thick grating. There’s also a rasping disc which can be purchased separately, and will allow you to rasp vegetables, chocolate, and hard cheeses such as parmesan. The great thing about this food processor’s large bowl is that there is plenty of room to accommodate whatever you are slicing or shredding – you won’t have to empty it as frequently as a smaller bowl. Most importantly, the extra room means that ingredients are less likely to compact together after they have been processed.

Where the mini bowl can be used much like a mini chopper, unfortunately there isn’t a grinder attachment for grinding hard spices and coffee means. However, it is possible to buy one separately, and indeed a whole host of attachments are available for the FDP613 and many other Kenwood Multipro food processors. There’s a chipping disc for ‘Julienne’ style vegetables, a folding tool for gently incorporating ingredients into mixtures, a citrus juicer, and a specially-designed storage box for keeping the tools tidy. There’s also a juicer extractor available separately, which pulps fruit and vegetables before using centrifugal force to extract the juice.

Use

The FDP613 has Kenwood’s patented Dual Drive system, which allows both the blender and bowl attachments to run from the same base. This means the food processor’s footprint on the kitchen worktop is much smaller than older style, large bowl food processors, which tend to have the motor compartment situated at the side of the bowl. Like most food processors, the FDP613 has an interlocking safety mechanism which means that it cannot be switched on unless the lid is securely fastened to the bowl.

Instead of two fixed speed settings, the FDP613 has variable speed settings and a pulse mode, ensuring that you have absolute control over the processing of ingredients in order to reach the desired texture every time. Turn the plastic control knob clockwise to adjust the desired speed; turn it anti-clockwise in order to activate the pulse mode. The pulse mode is engaged for as long as the knob is held in that position. It’s an intuitive system, although arthritic hands may find it a little trickier to operate, as the knob is round and smooth.

Cleaning the FDP613 is very simple – all of the parts are dishwasher safe, and as previously mentioned, the base is easy to clean with a damp cloth. However, do take care when handling the blades and the slicing & grating discs, as the business edges are extremely sharp. Even the slightest accidental contact can break the skin.

What can I make?

The FDP613 can be used to make numerous different dishes. You can chop, slice and grate vegetables for soups, salads and curries, and blitz ingredients for dips, sauces and dressings. The mini bowl is perfect for chopping smaller portions and preparing condiments and side dishes. The geared whisk attachment will allow you to make meringues, mousses, custard, and perfect whipped cream. The blender can be used to make milkshakes, cocktails, and delicious nutritional smoothies.

But that’s not all. There’s lots more dishes you can make, including those which you might not immediately associate with a food processor. Using the knife blades, you can make batter for pancakes/Yorkshire puddings, and cake mix and pastry for delicious home-made cakes, pies and flans. You can also chop meat – the texture won’t be quite the same as a typical mincer or meat grinder, but you’ll still be able to produce your very own burgers and sausages from scratch. And for that intoxicating smell of home-made bread, you can use the dough tool to prepare your very own fresh loaves, as well as the dough for pizza and fresh pasta.

Verdict

The Kenwood FDP613 food processor doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive 3 litre models (which can easily be twice as expensive), but it still comes with a good set of attachments – the geared whisk and mini bowl are particularly welcome additions. Furthermore, additional attachments can be purchased separately, meaning you can buy them later if you so wish, without having to shell out for them upfront at first. If you’re looking for an affordable, no-nonsense 3 litre food processor from a reputable manufacturer of kitchen goods, then the Kenwood FDP613 food processor is an excellent choice.


Kenwood FP120 Compact Food Processor

Posted on April 2nd, 2016

The Kenwood FP120 Compact Food Processor is one of the most popular food processors sold in the UK. Its unique selling point is its size: it only has a 1.4 litre bowl, but it’s still a conventional food processor, and definitely not an oversized mini chopper. For those where space in the kitchen is at a premium, or for those simply on a very tight budget, the Kenwood FP120 Compact Food Processor is the obvious ‘go-to’ choice.

Kenwood FP120 Compact Food Processor review

First impression

As the name suggests, compactness is the order of the day here. The Kenwood FP120 is just 17.5 cm x 15 cm x 27.5 cm, and it has such a small footprint on the kitchen worktop that there’s really no point stowing it away in the cupboard – it’s almost certainly easier to just leave it out in a corner of the kitchen. But taking it in and out of the cupboard shouldn’t be too hard anyway – at 2.2 kg, it doesn’t weigh much more than a couple of bags of sugar.

The FP120 follows an older style of layout which tends not to be seen too often on other modern food processors. Instead of being situated directly underneath the bowl, the motor is housed in a plastic compartment to the left of the bowl. A drive belt in the base connects the drive shaft with the motor.

The food processor is white with a light grey control knob, and a light grey plastic trim which covers the top of the motor housing and the base for the bowl. It’s a simple, no-fuss design which will look OK in most kitchens. There’s also a cord storage at the rear of the base – simply loop the cord around the plastic bracket to keep it tidy when not in use. In the vicinity of the cord storage bracket, there are ventilation grills for keeping the motor cool.

On the front of the food processor bowl, you’ll find measurement units in millilitres and cups, allowing you to measure ingredients straight into the bowl. On the base of the food processor underneath the bowl, a series of small picture diagrams indicate which attachment is the right tool for different types of food. Four rubber feet keep the FP120 steady on the kitchen worktop when in use.

In the box

In addition to the food processor and its bowl, in the box you’ll find a pair of rust-proof, stainless steel knife blades, a whisking tool, stainless steel plates for slicing and shredding (and a plastic carrier plate for them), and a plastic spatula for scraping the contents out of the bowl and for scraping ingredients down towards the blades if they work their way up the sides. There’s also a very clever gadget called a ‘maxi-blend canopy’, but we’ll get to that shortly.

Of course you’ll also find an instruction manual, and a registration card so that you can take advantage of the one year warranty. This version of the FP120 runs on 220 – 240 volts and has a 3 pin UK plug, so obviously you will need an adaptor should you wish to take it abroad.

The FP120 has a 400 watt motor. Unfortunately there is only one speed setting, although there is a pulse mode, which means you can still retain absolute control over the processing of ingredients so that you obtain the desired texture every time.

The FDP120 has a 1.4 litre bowl with a maximum working capacity of 800 grams for solid foodstuffs, or 800 millilitres for fluids. This puts it in the smallest group of standard sized food processors when compared to other devices such as the Philips HR7761/01 and the 3 litre FDP613, but make no mistake: the FDP120 is definitely a food processor, and is intended for tasks which a mini chopper such as the CH180 simply cannot handle.

Attachments

As you might expect, the set of attachments included with the FP120 is pretty basic. For example, there aren’t separate blender or grinder attachments, but this really shouldn’t be a deal-breaker on a budget device like this. Ultimately, you get a good handful of attachments which will allow you to tackle most food-processor related tasks.

The first attachment – the knife blades. There’s really nothing distinctive about them, to be honest. They consist of a pair of stainless steel blades embedded in a plastic pillar, which slots over the plastic hexagonal drive shaft. They are rust proof and extremely sharp, and should deliver many years of trouble-free use.

Anyway, the ‘maxi-blend canopy’. This surely has to be one of the cleverest attachments imaginable for a food processor. It’s a piece of plastic which simply slots on top of the knife blades and prevents the contents in the bowl from rising up the sides due to centrifugal force. This increases the working capacity of the bowl by 30%, meaning you can put a considerable amount of extra food in the bowl without overwhelming it. The maxi-blend canopy also works in the opposite way: when processing smaller amounts, it will keep things closer to the blades.

The whisking tool consists of a plastic disc which is immersed in the fluid within the bowl. The disc is perforated with a series of holes, and part of the disc is cut off so that it does not form a complete circle. Together, these ensure that air is incorporated into the ingredients, making perfect whipped cream for strawberries as easy as flicking a switch.

As for slicing and shredding, the FP120 doesn’t have full-size discs. Instead, you’ll find two stainless steel inserts. These slot into a plastic carrier plate, which slots on top of the drive shaft in the bowl. One thing to note if you are processing large batches of ingredients is that you may find yourself emptying the bowl quite frequently in order to prevent them from compacting together, as the bowl can fill up pretty quickly.

Unfortunately there is no geared whisk attachment or dough tool for this food processor, and nor are there separate blender and grinder attachments, but this really isn’t a surprise on a device this size, and shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. As a budget bit of kit, the FP120 still comes with a good set of attachments that will allow you to tackle most food processor-related tasks.

The FP120’s size, bowl, and modest set of attachments mean that it’s best suited for households consisting of 1-2 people. It’s ideal for someone living on their own, and is the obvious choice for any students looking to take a basic food processor to university.

Of course, for a large household, it’s clearly not going to be the main food processor or food preparation appliance – you’re obviously not going to get half a dozen bowls of soup out of it in one go, for example. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for it in a big family kitchen. If you’re preparing a meal for lots of people which isn’t entirely dependent on a food processor, then it’s a brilliant bit of kit for doing all of the menial chopping, such as chopping the onions for the frying pan without having to get a much larger food processor out of the cupboard. For a larger family, the FP120 would be a great alternative to the CH180 Mini Chopper as a cheat gadget that’s big enough to do menial tasks for a family meal without having to get the big 3 litre food processor out of the cupboard.

Use

Operation of the FP120 is very simple – turn the plastic control knob clockwise to select the single speed setting, or turn it anticlockwise to active the pulse mode. Pulse mode is only activated so long as the switch is held in that position.

The FP120 takes safety into account, and has an interlocking safety mechanism which means that the food processor cannot be switched on if the lid isn’t secure. This works via a plastic spur on the side of the lid, which slots into a gap in the motor housing. All of the attachments are dishwasher safe, but be very careful when handling the knife blades and shredding/slicing inserts as they are extremely sharp.

What can I make?

The FP120 can do pretty much all of the things that a mid to large sized food processor can do: chopping, blending, mixing, slicing and shredding. You can prepare vegetables for soups, salads and curries, and blend ingredients for dips, sauces, mayonnaise and dressings. The whipping tool can be used to make meringues, mousses, custard, and of course whipped cream. You can also make pastry and cakes, and the batter for pancakes/Yorkshire puddings, as well as breadcrumbs for food coatings. It can also be used to chop and grind meat: with a bit of discipline with the pulse mode so as not to over-process the ingredients, you will be able to make your very own burgers and sausages from scratch.

Verdict

For those who don’t have much space in their kitchen or who are on a tight budget, or perhaps simply don’t need a large, bulky food processor, the Kenwood FP120 Compact Food Processor is excellent value for money, and the included attachments squeeze out every last drop of value. It’s a capable food processor from a respected manufacturer which doesn’t hit your kitchen storage space hard – or your wallet. We think it’s a winner.


Philips HR7761/01 Food Processor

Posted on April 2nd, 2016

The Philips HR7761/01 is one of the most popular food processors sold in the UK. Made by the Dutch technology giant, it’s a compact, mid-range food processor which comes with an extremely generous amount of attachments, including a blender and mini chopper. According to the manufacturer, it is capable of performing 28 separate functions. Whatever combination of functions you need from a food processor, the Philips HR7761/01 has a lot to offer – especially good value.

Philips HR7761/01 review

First impression

The Philips HR7761/01 has a white plastic base with a grey plastic trim around the lower edge of the base and around the control knob. It’s a smart design which doesn’t look boxy or slab-sided, and may be a better choice if the brushed metal food processors are a bit too contemporary for you. One great feature of the base is that it is rounded off at the sides and is in fact slightly conical. The lack of corners make it extremely easy to clean with a damp cloth.

In the centre of the front panel is the control knob, with the Philips logo written underneath it in grey. There is a silver trim in the base which surrounds the knob, into which the speed setting indicators are set. The bowl fits flush with the base, which looks very smart. Measuring units are moulded into the front of both the bowl and the blender, allowing you to measure straight into them. A cord storage compartment is built into the rear of the base; to use it, simply push the cable back inside.

Built into the grey plastic bottom of the food processor are four plastic suction cups, which serve to keep it place when in operation. Although they may make it a little fiddly to reposition the food processor once it’s been set in place on the kitchen worktop, they are much more effective than traditional rubber feet, and especially so when the work surface is slightly damp.

Also on the underside of the food processor is the ventilation grill to keep the motor cool, so it’s important that nothing obstructs the gap between the food processor and the work surface when in operation.

The HR776/01 is quite a robust for a plastic food processor. Its 2.1 litre bowl has a working capacity of only 300 ml more than the similarly-sized Kenwood FPP225, but at 3.7 kg, is 1.2 kg heavier. The HR776/01 is only 400 grams lighter than the Kenwood FPM250, whose base is made almost entirely out of brushed stainless steel. Aluminium is admittedly a lighter metal, but either way, the Philips HR776/01 is definitely not a flimsy bit of kit, and in fact it’s actually 100 grams heavier than the 3 litre Kenwood FDP613.

However, at 21 x 21 x 36.8 cm, it’s still a very compact design. This is mainly due to the fact that the base barely extends further than the base of the bowl, and it certainly shouldn’t be too hard to find a home for it in a kitchen cupboard when not in use. Of course you may find it easier to simply leave it out on the kitchen worktop against the wall or in a corner so it’s there when you need it immediately.

In the box

With its description of being capable of performing 28 separate food preparation functions, Philips have styled the HR7761/01 as the Swiss Army knife of food processors, and the ten different attachments included in the box certainly attest to that fact. In addition to the food processor base, you’ll find the bowl, a blender, a mini chopper, a dough tool, a whisking or emulsifying disc, five stainless steel disc inserts and their plastic carrier plate, and a plastic spatula for scraping out the contents of the bowl and for bringing the ingredients down towards the blades if they work their way up the sides.

The UK version of the HR7761/01 runs on 220-240 volts and is obviously equipped with a 3 pin plug, so you will need the appropriate power adaptor should you wish to take it abroad. Also included with the HR7761/01 is a two year manufacturer’s warranty, which is twice as generous as the usual one year warranty typically included with food processors.

Motor

The HR7761/01 has a 750w motor, which is controlled via two speed settings and a pulse mode. The variable speeds give the user exact control over the processing of ingredients: the pulse mode helps prevent them from being over-processed and ensures that the desired texture is attained every time.

Attachments

First and foremost – the bowl. It’s a 2.1 litre bowl with a working capacity of 1.5 litres for liquids and dry foods, and it can accommodate a maximum of 500 grams of flour. As Philips explains, you can easily make up to five portions of soup in one go. And that’s not surprising: it has an impressive 25% greater working capacity than the Kenwood FPP225 and FPM250, both of which also have 2.1 litre bowls but a working capacity of 1.2 litres. If your budget or kitchen space restricts you to a 2.1 litre food processor, then the Philips HR7761/01 is definitely the better choice for getting the most out of the bowl’s space.

Another important aspect of the bowl is that the drive shaft in the centre is sealed, meaning that the contents of the bowl cannot leak via the drive shaft and onto the food processor or the kitchen worktop. This ensures that cleaning up is a much easier task. In fact, the bowl keeps your kitchen tidy even when you’re not actually using the food processor – Philips have designed it so that it can be used to store all of the bowl tools. The exact configuration as to how to store them is explained in the instruction manual.

So, the knife blades. These are in the shape of a plastic cuff which attaches to the lower aspect of the drive shaft in the bowl. The HR7761/01 is equipped with what Philips describes as PowerChop technology, whereby the shape of the blades and the cutting angle near the centre of the bowl work together to ensure that all ingredients are processed evenly. The dough tool functions in exactly the same way, and consists of two blunt plastic spurs embedded in a plastic cuff. They move the ingredients around the bowl without slicing into them like the sharp steel blades.

There’s also an emulsifying disc, which consists of a rippled plastic disc that attaches to the base of the drive shaft in much the same way as the knife blades and the dough tool. It doesn’t have the same action as a conventional geared whisk, but it’s still perfectly capable of making meringues and whipped cream.

The HR7761/01 doesn’t use discs made entirely out of steel for slicing and shredding. Instead, it has five stainless steel disc inserts. These slot over the end of the drive shaft and clip into a plastic carrier plate, which in turn attaches to the drive shaft. This modular design is undoubtedly the reason why all of the bowl attachments can be stored in the bowl when not in use, as separate discs each tend to be around the size of a small plate.

There are inserts for fine slicing, coarse slicing, thin shredding, coarse shredding, and rasping. The rasping insert is described by Philips as for granulating, but don’t get confused – you’re not going to be making granulated sugar with it. It’s actually for rasping things like chocolate and hard cheeses such as parmesan into small grains.

Also in the box is a 1.75 litre blender, which has a working capacity of 1 litre. It has some pretty mean-looking serrated blades, and is perfect for making milkshakes, soups, fruit juices and smoothies. Philips explain that it is made out of break-resistant plastic; however, it is still probably best to be on the safe side and allow liquid foods to cool to room temperature before blending. Unfortunately a glass blender is not available for the HR7761/01.

Last but by no means least, the final attachment in the box is a mini chopper. With a working capacity of 250 ml, this is designed for chopping very small quantities of food and individual items which would be too small on their own for the food processor’s bowl. In comparison to a specifically designed mini chopper such as the Kenwood CH180, it’s a case of swings and roundabouts: the CH180 has an ‘oil drip’ opening so that you can gradually add ingredients during operation, but the mini chopped included with the HR7761/01 can be used to grind coffee beans. It can also be used to grind certain spices, although things like cloves, anise and cinnamon are liable to discolour the plastic jar. Nevertheless, it’s great for chopping and blending small quantities of foods and sauces, such as pesto.

Use & Operation

Like most food processors, the HR7761/01 has a safety interlocking mechanism which means that the appliance will not switch on if the lid to either the bowl or the blender is not securely fastened. The same goes for the mini chopper: the blades won’t spin if it’s not screwed up properly. The food processor itself has a 1.5 second safety brake, which brings the drive shaft to a halt within 1.5 seconds when the food processor is switched off or its power supply is interrupted. This prevents blades and discs from spinning under their own inertia, and minimises the risk of injury when the lid is removed after turning off the power.

Operation of the HR7761/01 is controlled by a plastic control knob, which has a slightly pointed shape to indicate the selected speed setting. The two speed settings can be selected by turning the knob clockwise. Turning the knob anticlockwise from the ‘off’ position will activate the pulse mode, which will run for as long as the knob is held in that position.

What’s really clever about the HR7761/01 is that the purple knife blades and the purple ‘2’ speed setting is not a coincidence – the attachments and speed settings are actually colour-coded. It makes picking the optimum speed setting for each attachment second nature.

Cleaning the HR7761/01 is straightforward – Philips have designed it to be easy to clean. For example, both the bowl and the blender can be given a ‘quick clean’ by blitzing half a litre of lukewarm water with some washing up liquid for thirty seconds. A more thorough cleaning is still very simple as all of the attachments are dishwasher safe, but do take care when handling and cleaning the blades and the disc inserts, as the cutting edges are extremely sharp. Even the slightest accidental contact with food processor blades can break the skin.

What can I make?

The HR7761/01 fulfils a multitude of roles in the kitchen, and will also save you from needing to buy a separate blender and mini chopper. With bowl attachments, you can slice and shred vegetables for soups, salads and curries, and blend ingredients for dips, sauces and dressings. The emulsifying disc allows you to make whipped cream, custard, meringues and mousses, and the dough blades will take the hard work out of kneading pizza and pasta dough. The blender can be used to make milkshakes, delicious nutritional smoothies, and cocktails – and to crush ice for them. You can also use the HR7761/01 to make pastry and cakes, batter for pancakes/Yorkshire puddings, and breadcrumbs for food coatings. It will also chop meat, allowing you to make your very own burgers and sausages from scratch – delicious barbeque food which you know exactly what’s inside. And as previously mentioned, you can grind coffee beans and spices in the mini chopper for your very own curry pastes and fresh spices. For the perfect side to an Italian recipe, make some dough in the bowl with the dough blades and then blitz a clove of garlic or two in the grinder to make the topping for mouth-watering home-made garlic bread.

Verdict

The Philips HR7761/01 has all the benefits you would expect from a mid-range food processor, with a dollop of good thinking thrown in too. The use of the bowl as a tool storage space and the colour-coding of attachments and speed settings are extremely user-friendly bits of design, making the food processor simple and intuitive to use. The bowl also trumps a couple of other equally sized food processors in terms of working bowl capacity, although of course larger families may instead find that a 3 litre food processor is a better choice. Still, the HR7761/01’s generous selection of attachments is bound to you offer you the functionality you want from a food processor, and it’s an excellent choice for couples moving in together or perhaps starting a family. Equally it would be a great choice for the professional living alone who wants to prepare larger quantities of food in the evening which can then be taken to work for lunch the next day. As a mid-range food processor for mid-size households, it’s an excellent choice.


Kenwood FPM250 Food Processor

Posted on April 2nd, 2016

The Kenwood FPM250 food processor is one of the most popular food processors sold in the UK. It’s a mid-range, mid-capacity food processor with a particularly smart cosmetic touch: instead of plastic, the base is made out of brushed aluminium. And that’s not the only difference in comparison to some of Kenwood’s similarly sized plastic models, such as the FPP225 – the FPM250 comes with several additional attachments.

Kenwood FPM250 food processor review

First impression

The FPM250 has a brushed, die-cast aluminium base with a grey plastic trim. It looks smart and stylish, and will suit almost any kitchen. It will fit in well with any other metallic appliances on a kitchen worktop, and its sleek appearance is particularly well-suited to more modern, contemporary kitchens. Its silver and grey scheme means there is no danger of this food processor acquiring that washed-out, faded yellow tone which white plastic appliances tend to acquire. It’s a very polished design, especially if white kitchen goods aren’t your cup of tea.
In the centre of the front fascia is the control knob, with the Kenwood logo set into the grey trim of the lower base. The control knob is also made from brushed aluminium, showing that Kenwood haven’t cut any corners. Another nice touch is that the bowl fits flush with the base. Both bowl and blender have measuring units on the side, allowing you to measure directly into them. There is a cord storage at the back of the base.

When in use, four plastic suction feet keep the food processor stable on the work surface. They are far more effective at keeping the food processor in one place than rubber feet, and even more so when the worktop is damp. However, they can make it a little trickier to move the food processor once it’s been set in place. They also give the food processor its slightly elevated appearance, which is important as the ventilation grills for the motor are on the underside.

While aluminium is a light metal, it is inevitable that this food processor weighs more in comparison to a plastic equivalent, such as the Kenwood FPP225. At 4.1 kg, it’s certainly a robust bit of kit. Having said that, it’s still a compact design, and can easily be stowed away in a kitchen cupboard when not in use. However, you may find it easier to simply leave it out on the kitchen worktop against the wall or in a corner so it’s there when you need it. At just 20 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm and with a base that barely extends much further than the bowl, it’s much less bulky than larger 3 litre food processors.

This pretty much sums up the target market for the FPM250. Kenwood have designed it to fill the gap between consumers who don’t have the biggest kitchens in the world, but still want a premium food processor.

In the box

You’ll find quite a lot in the box of this food processor. There’s a setup leaflet, a bowl, a blender, a drive shaft, a dough tool, a geared whisk, a pair of knife blades, three metal disc attachments, and a plastic spatula for scraping out the contents of the bowl, and for scraping the contents down towards the blades if it works its way up the sides. There’s also a registration card if you want to take advantage of the included 1 year warranty. The FPM250 runs on 220-240 volts and is supplied with a 3 pin UK plug, so you’ll have to get a suitable adaptor should you ever need to relocate it abroad.
The food processor itself has a 750 watt motor, which is controlled via two speed settings and a pulse mode. These speed settings and the pulse mode in particular ensure that the user has precise control over the processing of ingredients, preventing them from accidentally becoming over-processed.

Attachments

The set of attachments included with the FPM250 is a significant improvement in comparison to the set included with the plastic Kenwood FPP225. Instead of a whipping tool known as an ‘emulsifying disc’, which is a plastic disc that rotates within the fluid, you get a proper geared whisk attachment. This consists of two interlocking wire whisks which spin together in much the same way as the beaters on a hand-held electronic whisk. What’s particularly clever is that only do the whisks themselves spin, but the attachment itself rotates around the bowl. It’s rather like the planetary mixing action of a Kenwood Chef, and is the perfect attachment for making meringues and whipped cream.

The dough tool is also an extremely welcome addition. It’s just like the knife blades in shape, except that instead of stainless steel blades, it carries a pair of shortened, blunt plastic spurs. It moves the ingredients around the bowl without slicing into them as harshly as the sharp steel blades, and will allow you to make the dough for pizza and pasta.

Both the knife blades and the dough tool have a rather curious design: one of the blades or spurs is curved, and the other is straight. Take a quick glance, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s unbalanced and will make the food processor vibrate, but that’s obviously not the case at all. It’s actually a clever bit of engineering: the asymmetric shape ensures that food particles are struck from all different angles. In the case of the dough tool, it ensures that all of the ingredients are incorporated and kneaded properly.

Of course no food processor would be complete without a bowl. The FPM250 has a 2.1 litre plastic bowl, which has a working capacity of 1.2 litres. This is a massive improvement in comparison to other, similar food processors, and not simply because the bowl is physically larger. This food processor has Kenwood’s ‘Sealed Bowl Drive’ technology, which means that there is no central drive shaft pillar. In food processors with this traditional system, the contents of the bowl is not allowed to rise higher than the driveshaft, as otherwise the bowl will leak. However, the Sealed Bowl Drive technology means that more space in the bowl can be used, allowing for an extra 20% working capacity in comparison to a food processor with the same size bowl. And when compared to a small capacity food processor such as the Kenwood FP120, this is a massive 50% increase. Plus, there’s another great benefit: it’s a lot easier to clean.

One of the most useful attachments included with the FPM250 is the 1.2 litre blender. This blends and chops things much more finely than the knife blades, and is brilliant for making soups, milkshakes, and nutritious smoothies. It’s made out of plastic though, so soups will have to cool to room temperature before they can be blended. Kenwood advises against blitzing rigid things like coffee beans and spices in the bowl or in the blender, as they may damage the plastic. However, a glass blender can be bought separately for the FPM250, and is actually included in the box with the Kenwood FPM260 and FPM270, so if you like the brushed steel look of the FPM250 but want a beefier blender, these may be better choices.

As for disc attachments, the FPM250 comes with three: one for coarse slicing and shredding, and another for thin slicing and shredding. There is also a third disc for extra fine shredding, which is intended for rasping vegetables and firmer food items, such as chocolate and hard cheeses.

Unfortunately there isn’t a grinder included with the FPM250, however, you can buy one separately. It has a glass jar which means it’s perfect for grinding coffee and spices, and chopping portions of herbs and individual items which may be too small for the food processor bowl. A glass grinder is included as standard with the Kenwood FPM270.

But that’s not all. You can also purchase a citrus juice press for citrus fruits, and also a centrifugal juicer, which grinds up fruit and vegetables into a pulp, and extracts the juice using the power of centrifugal force.
Use

Food processors and blenders generally require different drive systems due to the fact that a blender’s blades spin much faster. However, the FPM250 is one of several Kenwood food processors which has Kenwood’s patented Dual Drive system, which allows both food processor and bowl to run from the same base. The food processor is driven by a geared wheel in the base. Situated in the middle of that wheel is a geared plastic spindle, which drives the food processor. As you would expect, the FPM250 has an interlocking safety mechanism which prevents any bowl attachments from spinning if the lid isn’t securely fastened. Turn the lid anti-clockwise to open it, and turn it clockwise to close it. A couple of small arrow shapes indicate the correct closed position on both bowl and base.
Operating the FPM250 is extremely simple. Turn the aluminium handle clockwise to select one of the two speed settings, and turn it clockwise from the ‘Off’ position to select the pulse mode. The pulse mode will be engaged for as long as the control knob is held in that position. The knob has a slight indentation to indicate the selected setting. It’s a nice stylistic touch that the control knob is also made out of aluminium, although greasy or arthritic hands may find it a little trickier to operate in comparison to a rubber one.

Cleaning up the FPM250 is very easy, as all of the parts are dishwasher safe. Be extremely careful when handling the knife blades or cutting discs, as the sharp edges are extremely sharp. Even the slightest accidental contact can be enough to cut the skin.

What can I make?

The selection of attachments included with the FPM250 ultimately amount to an extremely versatile food processor which can help prepare a huge range of dishes. You can slice and shred vegetables for soups, salads and curries, and blend ingredients for dips, sauces and dressings. The blender can also be used to make milkshakes, cocktails, delicious nutritional smoothies, and to crush ice. Amazing desserts become a breeze with the geared whisk, allowing you to make meringues, mousses, custard and whipped cream without any of the tediousness, and you’ll be able to knock up the batter for pancakes or Yorkshire puddings in a flash.

In addition to chopping and slicing, the knife blades can be used for making pastry and cakes, and breadcrumbs for food coatings. Although the texture won’t be quite the same as a mincer, they can also be used to chop meat, allowing you to make your very own burgers and sausage meat from scratch – delicious barbeque food which know exactly what’s inside. There’s more to the dough tool than just bread: you can make pizza and pasta dough too. And don’t forget the garlic bread to go with them!

Verdict

Kenwood have combined the best of two worlds in the FPM250: it’s a robust, premium food processor without the physical size or price tag of a large 3 litre model. If you are looking for a mid-range metal food processor from an established manufacturer of kitchen appliances, it is the obvious choice. By including a geared whisk and a dough tool, Kenwood haven’t cut any corners on a great selection of attachments either, and there is even the scope to add a glass blender or grinder. Whether space on your kitchen worktop or funds from your bank account, it doesn’t ask for much – but at the same time, it has a lot to offer.


Kenwood FPP225 Food Processor

Posted on April 2nd, 2016

The Kenwood FPP225 is one of the most popular food processors sold the UK. It’s a basic, mid-range food processor that’s great value, easy to use, and comes with several attachments – including a blender. It’s from a company which needs little introduction: Kenwood have been making kitchen appliances for British consumers since 1947.

Kenwood FPP225 review

First appearance

The Kenwood FPP225 has a silver base with a grey lower trim. It’s not exactly brushed stainless steel, but it’s still a nice design which is unlikely to look out of place in most kitchens, and won’t acquire that washed-out looking sepia tone which white plastic kitchen appliances tend to get with age. In the middle of the front panel is a grey control knob, above which is the Kenwood logo. There are measuring units in millilitres and cups on the front of the bowl and the blender, allowing you to measure foods and liquids directly into them. The bowl fits flush with the base, which is a nice touch. A cord storage compartment is built into the base.

At 2.5 kg, the FPP225 is not particularly heavy, and can easily be stowed away in a kitchen cupboard. However, it’s an extremely compact design: at 19 x 19 x 32 cm and with the motor directly underneath the bowl, the base does not extend much further than the underneath of the bowl. The advantage of this design means that this food processor can easily be left out on the kitchen worktop, against the wall or in a corner, for convenient access when you need it. It’s obviously rather less bulky than larger 3 litre food processors.

Once on a kitchen work surface, the FPP225 stays in place via four plastic suction cups, giving the food processor its slightly elevated appearance. They also ensure that the motor has adequate ventilation, as the cooling vents are situated on the underside. They are far more effective at keeping the food processor in one place than rubber feet, and even more so when the work surface is damp. On the other hand, they make it a little bit harder to move the device once it’s been set in place.

In the box

In the box you’ll find a setup guide, the base, the bowl, the drive shaft and coupling, the knife blades, a blender, a disc for grating and slicing, an emulsifying tool, and a plastic spatula for scraping out the contents of the bowl. There’s also a registration card if you want to take advantage of the 1 year warranty. The FPP225 comes with a 3 pin UK plug and runs at 220-240 volts, so you’ll have to get the appropriate adaptor for it if you ever need to take it abroad.

Unfortunately there isn’t a grinder or dough tool included; then again, this is a budget, mid-price food processor. These shouldn’t be deal-breakers on a device of this size and one at this price, and a dough tool can be purchased separately anyway.

The food processor itself has a 750 watt motor, which is controlled via two speed settings and a pulse mode. These speed settings and the pulse mode in particular ensure that the user has precise control over the processing of ingredients, preventing them from accidentally becoming over-processed.

Attachments

The FPP225 has pretty much all of the benefits you would expect from a basic, mid-range food processor, and comes with a good selection of attachments. The bowl has a capacity of 2.1 litres with a working capacity of 1.2 litres. In comparison to the smaller Kenwood FP120 food processor, this is an extra 50% working capacity, which is a massive improvement, and shows why the FPP225 is one of the most popular mid-range food processors on the market at the moment. It’s partly thanks to Kenwood’s ‘Sealed Bowl Drive’ technology, which removes the need for a traditional drive shaft pillar in the middle of the bowl. In food processors with this arrangement, the contents of the bowl normally must not be allowed to rise higher than the drive shaft, as otherwise the bowl will leak. However, sealing the bowl/driveshaft as Kenwood have done allows for an extra 20% working capacity in comparison to a similarly-sized food processor. Consequently, it also means that the FPP225 is much easier to clean.

So, down to the attachments. The knife blades have a curious asymmetrical design: one of the blades is straight, and the other is curved. It looks odd and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s unbalanced, but of course that’s not the case. It’s actually a very clever bit of engineering which ensures that food particles are struck from different angles and in different positions.

A reversible stainless steel disc is included for slicing and grating, which will make very short work of vegetables and cheese. Simply turn the food processor on, insert the item, push down on it with the plunger, and you’ll have perfectly sliced courgettes, carrots, and whatever else you put in. One of the advantages of processing vegetables and cheeses this way in a food processor is that you are guaranteed even and consistently shaped pieces every time.

There is no geared whisk attachment available for the FPP225; instead, it comes with a whipping tool, or emulsifying disc as it’s known. This sits over the driveshaft like the knife blade attachment, immersing a plastic disc in the fluid in the bowl. A series of holes are cut into one portion of the disc, and another section of the disc is cut off at an angle. These holes and the straightened edge ensure that air is incorporated into whatever is being whipped, allowing the FPP225 to make perfect whipped cream.

One of the most useful attachments included is arguably the blender or liquidiser. It’s brilliant for making soups, milkshakes, and delicious smoothies. It’s made out of plastic though, so soups will have to cool to room temperature before they can be blended. For similar reasons, it’s also best to avoid blitzing rigid things like coffee beans, as they may have an adverse effect on the plastic.

Use & Operation

The FPP225 has Kenwood’s patented Dual Drive system, which is the mechanism that allows a food processor and blender to be operated from the same base (a blender’s blades must spin faster than a food processor’s blades). The blender is driven by a spindle which is situated above a larger wheel. The larger wheel is geared on the inside, and spins the food processor drive shaft. Like most food processors, the FPP225’s bowl features an interlocking safety mechanism for the bowl, meaning the food processor cannot be switched on if the lid is not securely attached.

The FPP225 is extremely simple to use. Operation is controlled by a plastic control knob, with a slight indentation to indicate the selected setting. The two speed settings can be selected by turning the knob clockwise. Turning the knob anticlockwise from the ‘off’ position will activate the pulse mode, which will run for as long as the knob is held in that position. One minor gripe is that the control knob is round and smooth; arthritic hands or hands greasy from food preparation may find it a little trickier to operate.

Cleaning up the food processor after use is very easy: all of the attachments and the bowl are dishwasher safe. Do take care if washing up by hand, as the blades and the disc faces are extremely sharp.

What can I make?

The Kenwood FPP225 can be used to help prepare many different dishes, including those for which a food processor is not the obvious choice. You can slice and shred vegetables for soups, salads and curries, and blend ingredients for dips, sauces and dressings. The blender can also be used to make milkshakes, cocktails, delicious nutritional smoothies, and to crush ice. With the emulsifying disc, you can truly up your game in the dessert area of the kitchen and make meringues, mousses, custard, and whipped cream. You can also make pastry and cakes, and the batter for pancakes/Yorkshire puddings in the food processor, as well as breadcrumbs for food coatings. The FPP225 will also chop meat, allowing you to make your very own burgers and sausages from scratch – delicious barbeque food which you know exactly what’s inside.

Verdict

It’s easy to see why the FPP225 is so popular. Kenwood have designed this machine to prepare food for 1-2 people at a time, and there’s no doubt that it’s an excellent first choice as a budget, mid-range food processor. It’s a great choice for couples moving in together, or for older couples looking to replace a previous food processor. Equally it would be a great choice for the professional living alone who wants to prepare larger quantities of food in the evening which can then be taken to work for lunch the next day. The minor complaints regarding the lack of a dough tool and the smooth control knob do not detract from the fact that it’s a brilliant mid-range food processor that offers great value for money.