Review: Morphy Richards Folding Stand Mixer

My experience with stand mixers is limited. My mum (as I’m sure all mums of a certain generation did) had a Kenwood Chef that was built like a tank.

kenwood-chef

These machines were heavy; you pressed that little silver button on the side and the unit lifted up and you pushed it back down again and it locked itself with a satisfying clunk. I’m not sure if I was ever actually allowed to use it myself – and certainly not without adult supervision – but I spent many happy hours watching my mum pour flour and stuff into it and watching the beater blade go round and round and round and mix everything up into something that would eventually turn into a cake. Although, I can’t actually remember my mum making a cake, so maybe that’s what she made her peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies with.

And that was my experience with stand mixers until a few weeks ago when I went on a macaroon-making class at Waitrose where we were given kMixes to play with. I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t impressed. Where was the pastel blue tank from the 70s? Where was the little silver button? Where was the satisfying clunk? Why is it made of plastic? I never got to find out the reasons for any of this because when I started jabbering on to the twenty-something macaroon-making assistant about food mixers in the 70s, her eyes glazed over and she continued to prod my sugar with a thermometer.

After playing with the mixer all afternoon though, I did start to hanker for one so when ebuyer.com asked me if there were any kitchen gadgets I needed that I’d like to review, I said I’d like a food mixer please. I wasn’t getting my hopes up to be sent a posh one like a kMix or a KitchenAid (I was stroking those in Currys the other day, they’re so pretty), so when I was offered the Morphy Richards Folding Stand Mixer, I was happy, and also intrigued by the ‘folding’ bit.

It’s really easy to unfold and fold back up for easy storage. Look, I even made a video to show you just how easy it is. (Please excuse the state of the kitchen; a new one’s being put in soon, yay.)

If you can’t be bothered to watch the video, here’s what you get: The mixer with its own storage case (yes, there really is a stand mixer in there), beaters, whisks, dough hooks, bowl and a spatula.

unpacked

Here it is with the top of the case off.

folded

And with the mixer unfolded.

unfolded

But… I know… it’s all very well and good being small and compact and easy to store and stuff but does it actually work? Can I make a cake in it? I didn’t actually make a cake in it (I’m sensing a genetic theme here) but I made the brownies from the recipe inside the included booklet and although I’m only half American, I’m 100% fussy about my brownies and these were good brownies. A bit of bite on the top and gooey in the middle, just like brownies should be. I even accidentally made them trendy hipster brownies because I added rock salt instead of normal salt, so every now and then I got a little crunchy hit of salt, and salted chocolate is still a ‘thing’ these days, I believe.

As you’d expect from a mixer that costs nearer £50 than £500, it’s not going to whisk everything up beautifully smooth in a few seconds. What is unique about this mixer though is the bowl isn’t locked on to the base, so you can – while it’s mixing – turn it in your hands clockwise and anti-clockwise, to help it mix. I only had to stop it a couple of times to scrape the sides down and what I ended up with was a bowl full of smooth and chocolatey brownie mix.

mixed

I poured the batter into a tray

batter

And cooked for the required time.

brownie

And when it was cool, cut into pieces.

brownies

If you’re short on space in your kitchen, or don’t want to spend hundreds on a mixer, I can definitely recommend the Morphy Richards Folding Stand Mixer (although please remember my experience of mixers is limited). ebuyer.com are no longer selling it (but please do have a look on ebuyer.com anyway – they have loads of stuff on there from computer stuff to household stuff and have been on the internet almost as long as I have, so they’re a proper established company and everything and I’m not just saying that because they sent me a mixer) but at the time of writing you can buy it online at Amazon for £57.46.

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Slow cooked Thai green curry with Quorn

There’s not really enough room for another gadget in the kitchen, but that didn’t stop me buying a slow cooker. I’d been looking at them on Amazon and hearing good things from friends so when I saw this one on the shelf in Tesco for £14, I thought I might as well give it a go.

Of course, then I also needed a cookbook, so I bought a copy of Slow Cooking for Vegetarians and tonight I made the Thai green curry with Quorn.

One thing I noticed about most of the recipes in this book is that you have to fry stuff first. Huh? I thought the whole point of a slow cooker was that you bunged everything in it, went off to do whatever it is that you do all day and, when you get back, your dinner’s ready. Not so, according to this book.

Because it was my first go at slow cooking, I wanted to do everything properly, so I followed the instructions, fried some of the ingredients first then added everything else and left it alone for a few hours. Everything came out beautifully; each vegetable and piece of Quorn soaked up the flavour of the curry paste and coconut, the carrot was wonderfully tender, the mangetout retained its bite, but the red pepper that was in there had disintegrated, leaving only a few bits of skin.

I’m looking forward to experimenting more with my slow cooker – next time though, I think I’ll just bung everything in at the same time without cooking any of it first, or is that a really bad idea?

vegetarian-slow-cooked-thai-green-curry

Slow cooked Thai green curry with Quorn (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 garlic clove, crushed
2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
300ml vegetable stock
100g green beans, halved crossways
2 tbsp soy sauce
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
400g/large can coconut milk
2 x 300g packets of Quorn pieces, thawed if frozen
100g courgettes, sliced
100g mangetout

  1. Preheat the slow cooker on High.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, carrot, celery and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened but not browned.
  3. Stir in the curry paste, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, beans, soy sauce and lime zest and juice. Bring just to the boil, transfer to the slow cooker and stir.
  5. Cover and cook on Low for 4-6 hours or until all the vegetables are tender. Stir in the coconut milk, Quorn, courgettes and mangetout and cook for a further 1 hour.




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Another pizza (this time less soggy)

After Jo responded to my ‘how to get pizza base less soggy’ question on my previous pizza post, The Meat Eater and I skipped off to our local Robert Dyas (ok we drove 10 miles to the nearest Robert Dyas) and purchased a pizza tray with holes in.  So, of course, we had to test out the holes=less sogginess theory, didn’t we?  So we did.  And it worked.  Hurrah.

Here’s the pizza about to be tested on its new tray.

Pizza 001And here it is, served up on a plate, not soggy.

Pizza 008It has the usual toppings of tomato sauce, onion, chili, mushrooms and cheese.  It would have had a red pepper on it but The Meat Eater (who was on pizza making duty) forgot to put it on.  He also forgot to put any vegan cheese on, I don’t know why.

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Broccoli and yellow pepper soup

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and The Meat Eater got me a knives set.  Not just any old knives set, but the coolest knife set in the world ever.

Voodoo knife set (aka the coolest knife set in the world ever)
Voodoo knife set (aka coolest knife set in the world)

But me being a wimp that is too scared to touch the coolest knife set in the world ever, I let The Meat Eater insert them into their holders and we go out and get the worst service in the world ever from my local Indian restaurant and the next day we go out and get the best service in the world ever from a local Italian restaurant (voted Best Pizza In London by Time Out magazine (it’s not, but don’t let that put you off going, it is very nice but the nicest is Mondragone (for pizza anyway Uffizzi may have the touch on pasta))) and later on I decide to be brave and use my new knives while I’m making my weekly soup and so I decide to use the one penetrating his right leg to chop up the vegetables for

Broccoli and yellow pepper soup (serves 5)

Ingredients:
Butter
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 yellow pepper
Broccoli
2,500ml stock
Nutritional yeast
Black pepper
Brown miso

How to make it:
Melt the butter in a large pan
Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes
Add the stock
Add the broccoli and yellow pepper
Add some nutritional yeast
Add some black pepper
After about 15 minutes, whizz it up with a stick blender and add some brown miso
Don’t cut your fingers off with new knives from the coolest knife set in the world ever

Broccoli and yellow pepper soup
Broccoli and yellow pepper soup
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Kuhn Rikon Electronic Scales

Last night I decided to make some mince pies and to make them with my new shortcrust pastry mix that I bought, instead of the ready rolled stuff.  (The Meat Eater said “you still have to roll it though, don’t you?  “No”, said I.  “There’s a clue in the name – ready rolled”.  Sigh.)

So off I dutifully trotted to the kitchen to weigh out the pastry mix, as I’m told that flour and bread and general bakery stuff like cakes (mmm, cakes) have to be measured precisely and so I turned on my scales, but they didn’t respond. “Come on stupid scales, Eastenders is on soon and I haven’t got time for this”.  But the scales were not to be coaxed into action.  Waa.  So I threw caution to the wind (i.e. I’d had a bottle of wine and couldn’t really be arsed about measuring precisely) and got out the measuring jug and sort of guessed how many grams (I think it was grams, the jug is presently in the dishwasher being pounded by jets of scalding hot water and bits of dishwasher tablet, so I can’t check) and added some water (three tablespoons to be precise, and I can be precise about that bit, three tablespoons is easy) and made my pastry which came out perfectly and made my mince pies (why I’m making mince pies is the subject of a future blog post) and thought “hurrah, I get to go shopping for kitchen gadgets tomorrow” and so I went to work and at lunchtime, braved the rain and the wind and the cold and the sleet and the snow and the hailstones and the tornadoes and the building site workers and went to that little bit of heaven called Robert Dyas (ok, it’s not very posh but I don’t work on Oxford Street any more.  Damn, just as I was getting on first name terms with the staff in Selfridges too) and bought myself a shiny new electronic silver set of scales for the bargain price of £9.99 which is a lot better than the fifty English pounds my broken ones cost me.  Maybe there’s something in this High Street shopping after all.  Looky, new scales.

Kuhn Rikon Electronic Scales
Kuhn Rikon Electronic Scales

And while I’m in Robert Dyas, I’m very good and only buy a Trust Mini USB2 Hub and not the electric cheese grater or the bobble remover that I really really need too and I get home and make myself some veggie spaghetti bolognaise and I put the spaghetti in the pan and I think I won’t weigh it as, if it’s under 100g, I’ll only put some more in and I’m trying not to be such a glutton but then I think oooh, but I REALLY need to try out my new scales and so I weigh the spaghetti and it’s only 69g and I think aah, that’s not even an amount for a starter but I have an iron will and put the spaghetti back in the pan without getting more out of the packet.  Hardcore.

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