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Buyer Guides

How to buy the best cooking aid

When it comes to preparing food at home, we believe our Food Preparation range has every job covered. However, it can be daunting working out which product is for you; as ever, we'd like to give you a helping hand...

Type of Product

Juicers

Juicers are used to extract nutrient-rich juice from fruit and vegetables. They leave behind a pulp, which includes insoluble fibre, skins and seeds, making the juice easy for our bodies to digest. The nutrients are highly concentrated in a juice and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. You can usually consume more produce in a juice than you would in a smoothie made in a blender; however you will need more ingredients to make the same volume. There are two styles of juicer, centifrugal and masticating. Centifrugal juicers work by spinning the ingredients in a chamber against a mesh filter at high speed. They are good for hard and soft ingredients, are quick to use and require little preparation as they can handle whole fruit. Masticating juicers work by squeezing and crushing the ingredients at a much slower speed than a centifrugal juicer. They are particularly good at juicing leafy vegetables and the juices created last longer than those made in a centifrugal juicer, as less oxidation occurs during the juicing process. Masticating juicers do take longer to juice and they won't handle whole fruit or vegetables, so some prep work is necessary. It's important to consider the power of a juicer; most raw vegetables are hard and fibrous and need a powerful motor in order to produce a smooth juice.

What to look for: Powerful motor, dishwasher safe attachments or cleaning tools, wide feed tube, juice jug with foam separator, variable speed

Blenders

Blenders are used to liquidise, mix and puree food; they are not designed for using purely with dry ingredients. Blenders are best used to make smoothies, milkshakes, soups and sauces and will give a much better result than if you try to make these in a food processor. They are also better at making small quantities of sauces than a food processor. However, a blender will not chop or grate; for this you need a food processor. A blender will pulverise the whole ingredient and leave no pulp, retaining any nutrients in the skins, piths and seeds. This is insoluble fibre that slows down digestion to leave you feeling fuller for longer but also slows down the absorption of the nutrients. You can use a wider variety of ingredients in a blender than you can in a juicer, such as pulses, yoghurt, creamy foods and liquids. They are good for blending fruits such as avocado and bananas, which have no juice.

What to look for: Variable speeds, good quality blending jug, dishwasher safe parts, ice crush

Hand Blenders

Often referred to as immersion or stick blenders, hand blenders offer similar functionality to a bar blender, but can conveniently be operated directly in the bowl or saucepan. This avoids having to dispense the liquid into a tabletop blender for liquidising, reducing spillages and the amount of washing up! They are compact and can be easily stored in a drawer or cupboard between uses, or kept on a work top without needing too much space. Some come with attachments such as a chopping bowl, which is designed for slicing small amounts of ingredients, or a whisk. Most come with a mixing bowl or jug. Hand blenders offer a variety of speeds, but are not powerful enough to crush ice.

What to look for: Variety of tools, easy to handle, multiple speeds

Food Processors

A food processor will chop, grate, knead, slice and mix - all things that you could do by hand, but if you are serious about cooking then the time and energy it will save you makes a food processor an essential piece of kitchen kit. It among the most expensive item you will need to buy, but investing in a good processor will give you great results. A good food processor will be able to chop large quantities of fruits, vegetables, nuts and meat with consistent results. The grating attachment will work with hard cheese, vegetables and bread, creating fine breadcrumbs in seconds. They are useful when making pastry or dough. Like a blender, a food processor will mix soups and sauces but work well with smaller quantities and the results won't be quite as smooth.

Hand Mixers

Hand Mixers are an alternative option to kitchen top stand mixers. Used primarily for baking, they are compact and easy to store between uses. A variety of attachments can include balloon whisks, dough hooks and flat beaters. The advantage of using a hand mixer over a stand mixer for baking is that more air can be added to the mixture, as the bowl is not as enclosed, allowing the air to circulate. Mixing with a hand mixer also gives you a better idea of when the mixture has reached the required state. Hand Mixers can also be used for mashing potato, mixing sauces, whisking egg white and kneading dough.

Hand Mixer ££

A useful tool for light bakers that is compact and comes in a range of colours

  • Flat beaters for mixing liquids, batters and for creaming
  • Balloon whisk for light mixtures such as cream or egg whites
  • Dough hooks for mixing bread and pastry dough
  • Small enough to keep within easy reach
  • Available in a range of colours
  • 400W motor
  • Four speed settings
  • Repairable parts
  • Retractable cord with integral plug storage

Hand Blender ££

A great tool for saving time in the kitchen and small enough to keep within easy reach

  • 700W motor
  • 600ml chopping bowl
  • Balloon whisk for mixing
  • Blending stick with anti-suction
  • 1L jug for blending
  • Repairable parts
  • Multiple speed settings
  • All attachments are dishwasher safe

Dual-Max™ Juicer ££

Stylish juicer with a stainless steel body and high juice yield.

  • 800w motor
  • Dual stage filter for high juice yield; it juices not only the fruit but the remaining pulp
  • Two speed settings for hard and soft ingredients
  • 800ml juice jug with froth separator
  • 2.2L pulp container
  • All attachments are dishwasher safe

Juice Extractor £££

A juicer with a powerful motor, extra-wide feed tube and large capacity for those who want fast juicing.

  • Heavy duty, 1.2kW soft start motor
  • Large feed tube for whole fruit
  • Two speed settings for hard and soft ingredients
  • Large capacity juice jug (1.6L and pulp container (2.2L)
  • All attachments are dishwasher safe
  • Includes brush for cleaning the filter

Blender £££

Powerful blender great for a variety of uses thanks to its multiple speed settings and functions

  • Powerful, 1000W motor
  • VortecS: 6-pronged blade and asymmetrical fins on the side of the jar create multi-dimensional mixing for a smoother result
  • Two pulse settings and four speed settings
  • Ice crush function that turns ice to snow in 10 seconds
  • Tritan® blending jug that is lightweight, shatterproof and dishwasher safe

Mini Oven £££

A multi-function oven perfect for small kitchens, mobile homes or as an "extra" oven for large families or when entertaining

  • Defrost, grill, bake & convection cooking functions
  • Fast heat-up time; 180° in 3 minutes & 230°in less than 5 mins
  • 18L capacity
  • Includes oven tray, rack & pizza pan
  • Non- stick interior and removable crumb tray for easy cleaning
  • Could be used as a fast cooking option for range oven owners

Food Processor £££££

The complete kitchen assistant for those who like to cook meals from scratch and for those looking to save time in the kitchen

  • Powerful 1500W commercial grade induction motor
  • 3 interconnecting bowls; large bowl 3.25L, wet working volume of 2.25L
  • 3 chopping blades (small, medium , large)
  • Grating & shaving disc - grating hard cheese/shaving chocolate
  • Shredding disc - Ideal for veg, has a fine side (1mm hole) & course side (3mm hole)
  • Julienne disc - ideal for prepping veg for stir frys & salads