Best Food Processor Guide


Kenwood FP120 Compact Food Processor

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

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.


Posted on April 2nd, 2016. Tags: , , , , ,