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Covers all the bases, but no match for a bowl and spoon when making cakes...
on 1 December 2009
Philips Robust Food Processor
Just the other day I was having a conversation with my mother about whether a food processor would be able to meet her culinary needs and allow her not to unpack her ancient Kenwood Chef (one of the early models). She generally uses it to mix up dough and cake mixtures, and although it's noisy and you have to hold it down with both hands to prevent it from making a leap for the back door to freedom, it's done a sterling job in her household since I was a child.
On reading the instructions of the Philips Robust Food processor, I was intrigued to find that it claimed to be able to mix up cake mixtures and kneed dough with it's dough-hook. Keen to put this to the test, we proceeded to make a nice chocolate cake for the Robust's inaugural use so that we could prove it's worth...
On unboxing it, it is clear that this is a well-made piece of kit. I wouldn't previously have thought of Philips when thinking of Food Processor brands, but this is really very impressive. The colouring and proportions lend itself to a very classy and sturdy device. It has suction cups on the base to help hold it in place - which is a nice touch, and everything fits together nicely. The dough hook and blade attachment have a nice "machined" quality about them that are reassuringly durable in feel.
I'm not sure what Philips are referring to when they describe the polystyrene packaging as the "storage box" for the various parts. The parts have gone in a drawer, and the polystyrene has gone in the bin.
Anyway, on to the use of the machine. Striking it up it was pleasantly not a racket-maker. The suction cups held it in place fine, and generally we nodded to eachother that things were looking good.
However, mixing up a cake was what we were trying to test it in doing, and it was here that the device fell down slightly. The manual states that you should use the double-balloon beater for soft pudding mixes, but if you are wanting to mix up any ingredients that are tougher, such as butter/flour/sugar/eggs cake ingredients, as well as dough, you must use the dough hook. The dough hook is not really cut out for mixing up a cake as we found, especially once you add liquid or crack a couple of eggs into the mix. The hook doesn't get to all the places in the bowl as you might expect, and despite trying to scrape things into it's path every now and then, we eventually aborted the operation and transferred to a good-ol' mixing bowl and wooden spoon. The resulting chocolate cake rose perfectly and tasted lovely, so it wasn't all bad.
Now, don't get me wrong, this is not necessarily the fault of the device, more-so it's just Philips trying to pitch the Robust Food Processor outside it's remit. Dough-making may prove more successful when I get round to trying some bread, but cake mixing in this thing is going to be left off the agenda from here on.
I have since use the main cutting blade, and one of the slicing discs, and this is where the Robust is far more at home, dealing with whatever I threw down it's chute with great aplomb. It really is very good to use and I can't fault it on that front.
Cleaning is the usual convoluted affair with this sort of equipment, with the bowl, lid, pusher and all the other attachments that you use, but if you're in need of a processor you'll be willing to make that sacrifice anyway.
As I said, I wouldn't normally of considered Philips in my list of preferred Food Processor manufacturers, but this Robust has been a bit of a surprise. I can wholeheartedly say that it can keep company with the best of the food processors in this sort of ilk. I would have liked better storage, and I wouldn't have wasted time implying it will mix up ingredients for a cake, but other than that, there is little to fault in this classy unit.