Kenwood FP959 Food Processor – review

Nuovi gadget casalinghi (I)

So I bought this to use in my kitchen in France. I wasn’t going to spend a fortune – it’s only for two months a year. I’ve aways used Magimix in the past. I don’t mind them. I appreciate the single-speed motor and the all-round simplicity of the design. I’ve always objected to the unnecessary gubbins you get with food processors (extra, smaller, bowls, storage compartments, attachments you never use), but there’s no avoiding them.

The Kenwood was £99, as opposed to a whole lot more for a Magimix. I just needed something to help me chop, grate blend, mix, etc. in a kitchen that has absolutely nothing in it (not even a worktop) bar the two sharp knives I bought in the summer.

It doesn’t feel very solid. It’s lightweight, but it does stick to the surface using suction cups. I’m placing it on an old formica table, and it doesn’t move around, which is good. Arrives in an oversized box and includes a blender, a small attachment for chopping nuts/herbs, and the usual bowl, along with four discs and two blades, one supposedly sharp, and one for dough.

So far I’ve used it to grate vegetables for coleslaw, grate a bit of cheese, make some dough, make some breadcrumbs, and chop some herbs, gerkins, and so on.

The most important bit for me was the dough mixing, as I hate kneading bread by hand. Here we have a problem. I was using unfamiliar (type 55) French flour purchased in E Leclerc, so I wasn’t sure how much water it would absorb. In the end, I made a somewhat wet dough on first attempt, and then had to spend a lot of time scraping out the bowl. The dough gets everywhere, including up the inside of the bowl centre. and all over the spindle (and inside it). The spindle is very different from a Magimix, and needs to be attached in advance of the bowl. The bowl and everything else will only go on in one way.

So the sough got everywhere. My second batch, I added less water, but still found it got everywhere, and didn’t mix well, either – I had to finish by kneading by hand, and I was blending a soft sticky bit with a solid lump. It really wasn’t very efficient at mixing (whereas my memories of doing the same thing in a Magimix are that it mixes quickly and cleanly).

For the coleslaw, I had to deal with a large number of ungrated lumps of cabbage, apple, pear, and onion. What it grated, it grated well, but it must have left 25% or so ungrated. Again, inefficient. Chopping herbs in the small herb chopper, or chopping gerkins in the same attachment: again, not very efficient. You’re dealing with some bits that are virtually liquidised, and others that are still more or less whole.

As for creating breadcrumbs, this should have been easy. I had a number of bits of 2-day-old bread, and I put them in the main bowl with the supposedly sharp blade. Well. Not very good. I think I could have stood there all day, and I’d have ended up with big lumps of bread mixed in with the breadcrumbs.

I expected to be disappointed, because I knew I was compromising, but it’s really not very good at all, not much of a labour-saving device, and not much of a time saver, either.

If you can afford it, get a Magimix. If you can’t afford a Magimix, invest in a really sharp knife and a decent cheese grater.

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