Top positive review
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A French Maid of All Work
on 20 April 2013
I wish Tefal had spent less on the shiny box and more on the booklet. After all unless you have to return the appliance, the box will be quickly recycled/disposed of; whereas the accompanying info which is a cheaply produced leaflet, has stuff in it you may want to refer to in future, and recipes that are actually worth keeping to use over and over.
The machine is easy to set up - although the flip up lever is at the back so it is best operated sideways to save making blind grabbing movements looking for it behind. There's a reasonable length of cord - over three foot. The 3.5 L bowl is light and bright, with a solidly made base arrangement that locks into the machine anti clockwise and then is clockwise to unlock which somehow seems counter intuitive. Feet with suckers on them keep everything steady and still on the worktop. Altogether the Tefal Kitchen Compact 700W 3.5.L mixer is attractive, clean and free of any nasty dirt collecting areas (Kenwood could learn a lesson for this as the base of the Major is always grotty underneath and won't come up clean).
There are four speeds to use plus a pulse function so you are in control. Happily the machine is reasonably quiet, I could still hear the play on 2. Well the play was on 4 but the speed was 2!
The attachments are proclaimed to be `high quality' but I was not so sure. They are a light plastic and metal combination and feel almost toy like in the hand. However I think their being lightweight could be very helpful to a cook with arthritic hands so not necessarily a disappointment. The splash guard is handy and prevents snowstorms of flour or icing sugar. And protects little fingers that might get too near the mixing.
The Whisk is wonderful - making the meringue recipe from the leaflet was a doddle, the mix stood up stiff and strong, and turned itself into a perfect Pavlova with no trouble. I found it much less hassle than standing around with an electric whisk and a bowl (my Dualit resembles an outboard motor).
The Dough hook looks spindly and bendy but is fine; it produces a ball of elastic springy dough from 350g flour very quickly, leaving the bowl clean in moments. Again using the Tefal leaflet recipe I made a batch of white rustic rolls easily. I was a bit befuddled as to why after mixing the dough together, with the machine, I was then told to knead it till smooth. This is not necessary with larger mixers.
The 1 L blender jug is brilliant, set at a comfortable height, watertight and light to use, it made an ice cream milk shake in seconds. Simple to wash, the ease of use was impressive. Less so was the fact that the blades will go round when the machine is turned on with no lid on, this is basically an accident waiting to happen.
It was the beater that disappointed a little. I set to with the Vanilla Sponge slab cake recipe that weakly called for softened butter. What a wuss - a prima donna demand. If you have the patience to wait for butter to soften well your name is probably Mrs. Beeton and you'd be happy with a wooden spoon and an earthenware bowl under your arm. Isn't softening butter what machines are for? The much vaunted planetary motion which worked so well with the whisk was less effective with the beater. It's boring having to scrape mix back down the sides of the bowl, it causes curdling and separation when even at top speed the ingredients aren't incorporated. However once all the mix was in the thing got going and produced a perfectly satisfactory cake mix. It did look a bit dull so I added a pot of glace cherries. Later I made an oil based ginger cake which mixed perfectly. It is just creaming butter and sugar that seems awkward. But then I could have mixed the ginger bake by hand just as easily!
We are invited to customise the machine with further extras, the graters and slicers look tempting, there's also a mincer and a mini mincer should you get the urge to produce your own non equine version (although the mixer is made in France).
In conclusion, most half way committed cooks will already own a stick blender and an electric whisk, maybe a table top blender. So who is the target market for this all rounder? And is it worthy of the work top/cupboard space it will take up. It all depends on the kind of cooking you do. I am now trying to come to terms with the fact that everyone is grown up and I am no longer cooking for a large and hungry family. So this more small scale mixer is ideal for my everyday needs. It is hygienic, bright and modern in style. I like it and so yes, it can stay.
p.s. a couple of weeks on and I am pleased to say that I like this even more than I thought I would. I've used it every day for one thing or another and am having great success with all in one cakes that my now defunct magimix used to whizz up. As long as you do soften the butter, or choose oil instead, and employ the whisk instead of the beater, the mix gets thoroughly incorporated very quickly and thickly, without curdling or leaving debris on the sides of the bowl. Now I have got used to that extra step I declare this to be a four star item, a very handy friend indeed.
P.S. in early 2015 I am still using this machine everyday. The fact that it is so discreet on the worktop means I reach out for it more often thanI might if it had to be stores. A long lasting peiee of kit!