June 3, 2024

Lets take a tour of small kitchen appliances & a food processor conundrum

Let's take a tour of my kitchen appliances!

First, we have a small kitchen.  In fact, it's 10'11 by 8'11 (or 3.3m x 2.7m).  The kitchen also has three doors into it (unlike the drawing below, which for some reason omits the door from the kitchen to the dining room):
It is awkwardly small and we try and fit a lot into this space, and but all appliances need to be somewhere.  With that in mind - here is our appliance tour:
Kettle: No British house is complete without an electric kettle.  This must be our most used appliance.  We don't have a coffee maker so it's always my first stop for my morning coffee (I use a drip filter/V60).  Then my second coffee, and endless cups of tea.  We also use it to boil water before cooking as it heats up much faster than the stove.  
Toaster.  Everyone needs a toaster right?  This is a two slice toaster.  It is... fine.  It was on sale and definitely not worth kitchen-aid prices.  We could probably use a four slice toaster someday but we don't have the space right now.
Microwave.  We didn't have a microwave for about a year in our 20s.  I'm not sure why.  It was silly.  Microwaves are the best.
Bread-maker.  We use this A LOT.   We bought this bread maker second hand right before Isaac was born (in 2018).  The person selling it had labeled the plug, which Andy and I really appreciate.  I was worried we wouldn't use it at all, but we actually use it about 2-3 times a week.  We also have a back stock of about 15kg of flour, for making bread.   The white tub below is about 30% of our flour backstock.
Slow Cooker.  We use this pretty frequently too.  Andy wanted a big one, which is good for making lots of food, but I miss my smaller slow cooker.  In my dream kitchen I would have a small slow cooker and a big slow cooker for different sizes of food prep.  I get the feeling that we will need the big one more often with our giant brood.  Last week I cooked a whole chicken and carrots in the slow cooker.
(left to right)
Waffle Iron.  Recent addition because I love waffles.  I didn't want to spend a lot on something I wasn't sure if we would use, but this one is somewhat plastic-y feeling.  I can see the benefit of removable plates now for easy washing.

Hand Mixer.  I had a very cheap "stand mixer" for ages, which I spent £40 on in 2012.  That was a lot of money for me in 2012!  It could be used as a hand mixer or it could be attached to a bowl that would rotate.  It didn't do either thing very well and it took up a lot of space.  Eventually we sold it (for £20?) and I bought a nice hand mixer that was more expensive I am very happy with the purchase.  Someday I would like a kitchen aid mixer.  First I need a bigger house.  The £300,000 for a bigger house at least makes the £400 kitchen aid seem more reasonable though?

Blender.  We LOVE smoothies in the summer and I bought this blender a few years ago.  I only use it for smoothies so we only use it half the year.  I feel like I did a lot of research on blenders before we bought this and it's not quite as great as the £44 price tag should have indicated.  I like it because it does blend - but I feel it needs lots of liquid and it is very LOUD.
Immersion Blender.  In the winter we often use the stick blender to make soups. Right now I mostly use the food processor attachment to make hummus.  I use it A LOT and it's starting to fall apart. Every time I use it I think it's probably the last time... Its starting to make a grinding noise and even Andy has noted that it's going to completely fall apart (Andy is usually a use it and repair it guy).  The stick/blender piece is great, but the mini food processor attachment probably wasn't meant to be used as often as we do.  I also try and use it for making falafel and fritters, which requires multiple transfers to a bowl since the processor is so small.

(also once I broke the hand mixer by following a Ottolenghi recipe for hummus which burned out the motor.  I thought it would be strong enough to work through the chickpeas but the chickpeas won.)

This brings me to the problem at hand... I "need" a new food processor.  I am not keen on buying a standalone food processor because I feel we already have too many appliances in our storage spaces.  Also what size do I need?  The current attachment is mini but sometimes I wish it was less mini.  I'm wondering whether a combined food processor and blender is a better option? Or can I use a blender to make hummus?  Can I use a blender to make salsa?  

Our house has no storage so Andy and I bought this unit in 2019.  Andy actually drew it and measured it and a company in Bath built it for us.  We recently realised we may have fit it upside down.  Also, it took 4 of us to mount it to the wall.  We had two friends come over to lift it.  I am not keen on glass cupboards but if we kept it a bit more organised then it would probably look better.  A project for another day.
Also, counters are not storage.  That is a project for tomorrow.

What is your favourite appliance?  Should I get a new food processor?  Should I get a combined food processor and blender?  Should I make do without a food processor?  Do you use a food processor and what do you use it for?

15 comments:

  1. I had a Kenwood food processor with accessories - it seemed there was nothing it couldn’t do. And then someone broke the lid and it couldn’t be replaced without replacing the bowl, which was basically adding up to the cost of a new processor without all the accessories. So I bought the Ninja food processor because I did miss not having one even if not used frequently ( mostly used for grating carrots, and occasionally baking). I preferred the bowl size on the kenwood one though (3L maybe?). I can also recommend the Morphy Richards slow cooker (silver pot). And a programmable rice cooker if you eat rice. Then you can go out and back to a ready-made meal ( I can also steam veg in mine while rice is cooking).

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    1. Oh thank you for the info on the kenwood food processor! Interesting that you didn't like the Ninja as much. I loved our 3.5 L (??) crock pot but the new one is 6L which is never too small but feels unweildy to move around.

      I would love a rice cooker someday - it's another tool everyone I know raves about. I love the idea of having a full dinner ready when using the slow cooker and the rice cooker together!

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    2. Don’t quote me on the size 😉 it might be smaller. I believe they have the same volume (pretty sure I checked that before buying) but the kenwood one was wider. I’ve made the same things in both, so Njnja big enough. Would a Nutribullet work for you if you just need to make sauces, smoothies?

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  2. I don't have a kettle but I have all the rest (we have a 4-piece toaster and I LOVE those extra slices, but it does take up more space; sigh). I have an immersion blender but rarely use it...we bought it when we had smaller kids and I did use it a lot to mush up baby food).
    My food processor is one of my absolute favourite appliances and I use it at least once a week. I grate carrots and cheese with the grater attachment, I mix up almost every single batch of muffins or banana bread I make right in the food processor. I use it to pulse up veggies into small pieces for things like chili. BIG fan. Black bean brownies? I throw everything in the food processor and blitz it for a few minutes. Done. So easy.
    We have a mini blender and I love, love, love it. We only use it for smoothies and it is small but powerful. The blender "bowl" part is actually a large cup structure with a handle and so you make your smoothie IN the cup you drink it from. Genius.

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    1. I definitely used the immersion blender more to make food for Isaac. i think these babies had one puree and everything else has been mashed with a fork. They're good eaters now but they definitely didn't get the TLC food that Isaac had haha.

      You seem like a household minimalist so I am interested to hear you like your food processor so much! I didn't realize you could use it for muffins/banana bread/baking projects. Also the idea of pulsing veg is great too - I spend so much of my life chopping veg right now. I made a chili yesterday and forgot to add peppers because I forgot to chop them, and then didn't add cellery or carrot because I couldn't be bothered to chop. So it turned into more of a bean stew.

      I had a mini blender in my 20s and I think it had a lot of pieces but I remember it made good smoothies. I think the food processor/blender that I'm looking at includes a mini blender piece so maybe that's another plus for that potential purchase...

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  3. We honestly don't have most of those appliances. No kettle, no toaster, no bread-maker. We do have an immersion blender and a real blender and those get used a lot. We have a slow cooker, but it has almost entirely been replaced by our InstantPot. We do not have a food processor and I'm really curious about how my life would be improved if we did buy one.

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    1. I've never used an instapot but I love my slow cooker so haven't felt the need to learn a new thing. I am a bit surprised by how much people love their food processors. It seems like they do a lot more than just turn food into sauces. (I guess sauce is a food, but I mean like making hummus or making dips)

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  4. Why are posts like this so fun? I don't know, I just know that they are. We have most of these appliances, except we do not have a slow cooker. We have both a toaster and a toaster oven, because I use the toaster oven a lot to cook (my daughter is cooking chicken in it right now), but it makes crappy toast. Takes forever and you mainly get warm bread. Our food processor died a couple of years ago, and we bought another and love it. It's Cuisinart. Sometimes I think I would like a mini food processor, but we have NO MORE ROOM for appliances. Oh, we also have a big coffee grinder AND we inherited a Nespresso machine when some friends moved away. So yeah, our counters are FULL.

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    1. Thank you!

      We would love to have a toaster oven. It's so good for cooking small things! They don't seem to sell them here, but it seems like an air frier might be similar? When we lived in the states we used our toaster oven all the time for making burgers and fish. It would be way more efficient for heating up fish fingers than turning on our whole oven.

      I am thinking I need a food processor now - everyone seems to love theirs.

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    2. Thank you!

      We would love to have a toaster oven. It's so good for cooking small things! They don't seem to sell them here, but it seems like an air frier might be similar? When we lived in the states we used our toaster oven all the time for making burgers and fish. It would be way more efficient for heating up fish fingers than turning on our whole oven.

      I am thinking I need a food processor now - everyone seems to love theirs.

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  5. All flat surfaces in my house are fair game for storage. I don't even try to fight it much anymore, maybe twice a year I'll clear off the dining table of papers and file things that are puled on my desk into the actual filing cabinet. It's just in my nature, I guess. -rachel

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    1. I should have said "in my house, counters are not storage" because I certainly don't mind other people using counters for storage! Also, I think right now my life is lived against a rising tide of clutter and chaos so having clear counters is my mental equivalent of finishing my day in a draw.

      Also, I think americca had a lot more papers. There were always papers needing filling/filling/submitting. And they were important! or unimportant. Or potentially important. Even my papers from the HMRC (like the IRS) get put in the shredder pretty quick. I'm sure if I need them I can get them again later... or I don't need them.

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    2. That's how I took it, in your house counters are not storage. :) And I totally get the end of the day feeling of needing to reset the counters to not-cluttered. For me/us, that's doing the dishes...and starting thw day with the bedspread pulled up (aka, our version of making the bed). Whatever it takes to stay sane. -rachel

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  6. I love posts like this where we get to see the every day things! I might steal your appliance tour idea for a post of my own. We have a whole counter taken up with appliances - we call it appliance row. I think my electric kettle is my favorite thing on that row. Or maybe the InstantPot, though I don't use that as much.
    I have a very small (maybe 2 cup?) food processor that is quite old, Sunbeam Oskar. It was a hand me down from my mother. (Okay, I just googled it and it was first released in 1985! now I'm second guessing putting it in the dishwasher like I have been doing...) It's not quite big enough or modern enough to do all the amazing things that you can do with a food processor, and doesn't have all the attachments, but it works well for what I need it for - ie making sauces, salsas, pesto, grating cheese, chopping nuts and what not. I have made hummus in it, but I have to do it in batches. I've done falafel too - also in batches, but it works so quickly that the batches is not enough of an inconvenience to want a bigger one. (I have also tried making hummus in my blender and find that annoying - I had to keep stopping and stirring things - and I have a VitaMix, so it's not like it's a crappy blender.)

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  7. I have a food processor and a blender but I have really used the food processor as a blender lately... because I do not have enough counter space or storage, I tend to try to have as few appliances out on the counter as possible.

    Side note: I am so excited to hear there is someone els who backstocks flour (I buy 25lbs bags of rye flour for baking, partially because I can't find rye flour easily and partly because it's cheaper).

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