Spendy Blender or ?

When I first started to get into making raw sweet food (e.g. bliss balls) as opposed to baking a Nigel Slater cake for my playdates I had a few a-ha moments.

I had to work out, and fast, whether to use my (now dead, late 90s Breville) blender, a mini blender (something like a coffee grinder or magic bullet), Nana’s food processor, or my very basic barmix/wandy thing, for each recipe.

Around the same time I pseudo-inherited Ms Kenwood, one motor with many big, small and confusing parts to load ontop of it (from the neighbour’s Friday night pre-garage sale).
I don’t like it. Perhaps they didn’t too – which is why they sold it to me with most of her virgin parts still wrapped in plastic.

A little more detail…

I don’t like that my brain has to remember which spikey-sticky-up-bit to add first, if it needs the spikey-sticky-up-bit at all. Then there’s finding the screwy bit that matches the blender as opposed to the screwy bit that goes with the un-magic bullet (sorry the description is a bit in-house, and may only speak to those of you who are intimate with this appliance). I also don’t like that this ‘one motor’ comes with EVERYTHING e.g. a cake-beater which I’m never going to use cos I have a more simple, excellent one called a pre-loved Kitchen Aid, but I’m too hoarder-ish to throw the beater parts away and instead its (5) parts are adding to the chaos, that is my pantry.

But chaos aside, I attempted lemon and lime sorbet from Wholefood Simply with Ms Kenwood (blender attachment) and stood for too long at bench, opening closing lid, inserting extracting spatula, for too many minutes of my passionate lifetime.

I’m trying to make friends with her. Ms Kenwood. I look at her map-book and have used the citrus juicer, the magic bullet equivalent, the mini processor. Always happy to give her the benefit of doubt, and supposing I may have chosen the wrong blade for the job. Ah, the inside (nearly wrote women’s then backspaced a bit) tool shed. Which tool for the job? Ryobi maybe gave Kenwood the idea cos husband managed to convince me he could get a new power drill and another power something because it shared the same motor and battery pack, you just paid for each power attachment – such a good deal, he said. Actually, maybe Kenwood should talk more to Ryobi and then I wouldn’t have that surplus to requirements cake-beater.

Unsecretly, I’m on the look-out for a handsome replacement.

Will it be the lady ship? The thermomix? The vitamix? The optimum 9400? The omniblend? High end breville?

I’ve FBed some of the ladies and gentlemen I’m getting all these fashionable raw, paleo leaning, real food, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, for their advice and BINGO I realised I could share with you what they say.

I have found I need a power gadget for my inside tool shed which:
1) crushes ice
2) blends dates
3) grinds nuts
4) makes curry pastes
5) whizzes pesto
6) munches kale
7) liquidises solids

1) real fruit sorbets
2) bliss balls
3) raw cheesecakes
4) from scratch curry paste
5) to use up my glut of basil I’m planning for
6) green smoothies
7) soups

Do I need a blender AND a food processor?

So, I start off asking:
I’d love your advice…What food processor would you recommend for grinding dates and nuts etc for raw sweet foods? And / or which blender? Or what should I look for if not a brand?

Then I cotton on and think:
Perhaps a blogger doesn’t want the supposed responsibility of recommending a brand in case it comes back to bite them in the buttock.

So, I rephrase:
I’m starting to make more raw sweet food and therefore blending/whizzing nuts . I wondered – what blender and or food processor do you use?

In order of response word count, here’s what some of the stars replied:

Bonnie Delicious Blog:
Hi Emily. I’ve just got a mid range Kenwood processor / blender combo. Not a massively expensive one. It works perfectly well and I use it almost every day. The blender component isn’t as awesome as one of the $1000 vitamix models but it still makes awesome smoothies (just takes a couple of minutes more). I don’t think you need to spend a fortune at all but buy the best quality you can justify budget-wise. If I was going to spend the money I would get an Optiumum 9400 blender. They seem like great value without the Vitamix price. Also I use my powerful little hand / stick blender for making nut creams. It gives a perfect consistency. Hope thats a little bit helpful!? x

My Darling Lemon Thyme:
Hey love, after many years of struggling along with a crap blender, I forked out for a Optimum 9400 blender after finishing my cookbook! It’s awesome. Works the same as a Vitamix but around half the price. Froothie.com sell them. My food processor is just a Breville one and isn’t that great. I use the mini food processor attachment from my stick blender probably more than my actual processor. Hope that helps? Xx Emm

Hemsley & Hemsley:
Hi Emily, thank you for your message. We love a Vitamix which grinds nuts to make (flours) in a jiffy – but to make nut butters we like our well used Kitchen Aid food processor. You can grind nuts to make a flour in this too but do it on pulse to make sure you don’t over blend parts and end up with a mix of flour and nut butter! You might not get an even texture of flour with a food processor as you might with a Vitamix but it should do the job. A good coffee grinder (which hasn’t been used for coffee as the flavour will be affected) will do a good job of grinding nuts too. Good luck!

Wholefood Simply:
Hi Emily,
I have had great feedback on the magimax, thermomix, thermochef, bellini, and high end breville range of food processors.
I hope this helps.

Nadia Lim:

Hey Emily, if you want a blender that can endure almost anything, and blend nuts down to a nut butter (you can make your own nut butters now too! Like cashew, almond, hazelnut with cacao and coconut etc). Then I would definitely recommend a Vitamix. With all my recipe testing I’ve put this blender through a lot over the years! And it’s still going strong! Hope this helps. Yellow smiley face.

Dr Libby:
Hi Emily,
A Vitamix or a Omiblend will give you the results that you are looking for.
Kind regards, The Dr Libby Team

Julia and Libby:
Hi Emily, I have a Vitamix, it comes with a “dry container” that I use when making bliss balls. I would perhaps go with a Thermomix, I hear they are amazing. Jx

Alexx Stuart:
Thermomix (followed by a yellow smiley face).

Little Bird Unbakery:
Too busy making my favourite peppermint cacao slice to reply? Maybe they bare all in their cookbook? Will my sister lend it to me?

Greta Kenyon (photographer) friend and all round person I ask for heaps of tips about health, things beautiful, and ‘now’ directed me to Health Yeah and this link on the optimum blender.

I called in to Cook the Books in Auckland to buy a bamboo wooden recipe book holder. What a woman that shop owner is. I nearly walked out with 2 cookbooks I didn’t intend to walk out with. She was a book enthusiast. Go. Go buy a book from this woman. Or go to the cooking workshops they run. She knows all. She sells like it’s science. I asked her about blenders and she said her Aussie sister in-law got a Lady Ship a few years back and Cook the Books food and cookbook enthusiast had to try one. She’s hooked now (she reckons). Get one, she said. They’re nearly 1/2 the price of the other ‘about-town’ brands. She said if you’re a true raw food buff (probably don’t, get one). But if you’re dabbling (like me, like her) maybe you make 1-2 smoothies a week, sometimes month, then The Lady Ship’s for you. She said, the name lets it down. It’s made in China and its a classic case of lost in translation. If you can get past the name, she said. I love it. What a story. The Blender. The Lady Ship. Lost in Translation. Like my woman shed that is the kitchen.

Cook the Book’s woman advised when purchasing a blender not only should one consider the size of the motor, but look at the design of the jug. The angles on that ‘bad boy’ suck the contents down onto the blades. That’s what I WANT bay-bee. Hmm. Sister-in-law also said some of the cheaper (Bricoes/Harvey Norman type blenders) also have written in the fine print – stop using blender after 30 seconds (while it cools off). Sounds angry. Moral of the story – buy a blender you’ve ‘investigated’.

Here’s some I’ve done detective work on. I haven’t converted watts to horsepower (I’ve left you to do some digging for this one). But, already I’m spotting a marketing ploy (change the standard wattage to horse power and your consumer will be impressed, think of stallions, then maybe of boating and won’t be able to compare it to the other blender’s he/she’s considering).

thermomix-shonky-awardsThermomix $2,370     500 Watt motor

5200-colorsVitamix $1,295      2 peak output horsepower motor

Omniblend1Omniblend $385   3 horse power motor

MASTER-01-1024x395Optimum $499    3 horse power motor
bbl910_lr_hero_a13_oct_1Breville (The Boss) $999   2200 Watt motor

BBL605CB-1Breville (Kinetix Control) $349    1200 Watt motor
LS-658 frontThe Lady Ship $350 600 Watt motor

What to do?

I’m leaning towards saving up for the Optimum (and using this for):
1) crushing ice
2) blending (dates)
3) grinding nuts
4) making curry pastes
5) whizzing pesto
6) munching kale

I’m gonna stick with my trusty and cheapy stick/wand thing for my (cos I like taking it to the stovetop and not creating more soup dishes)
7) liquidising of solids (soups).

Here are a couple of reviews or comparison charts which I found persuasive:
Vitamix versus Optimum
The Raw Food Store (Mum) Review

Not sure what to do about the food processor dilemma.
Do I need one?
Will the Continuum excel?
Perhaps I will repatriate Ms Kenwood (one motor with many big small and confusing parts to load ontop of it) to someone more compassionate.
Get Nana’s breville back from Kellie (my ‘researcher’, could-be-blogging-friend).
Get a coffee grinder and use that for dry grinding (ooh that seems wrong to write).
Is there such thing as a mini-processor without getting a ‘maxi’-processor too.

Finally, I have wondered whether I need to buy a family set of ear-muffs (to complete the tool shed look) cos my bambina are all terrified of the sound of Ms Kenwood eating whole almonds. The stress of trying to time my grinding for when children are? checking the mail? in the bath? on the swing? washing the husband’s car? deafened already and distracted by the lawnmower? is enough let alone standing wondering if the suction feet will hold, or will my hopping Kenwood, fall to her death?

I have been holding off publishing this waiting to find a moment to collect 5 sets of muffs and a photographer to catch our family of 5 ready to blend. But alas. I’m impatient. Christmas is coming. You’ll have to imagine. Imagine especially my 9 month old koala bear son’s cheeks pushed together with a tomato red pair. Happy blending and spending.


  1. Hello dear Em,

    I have a Magimix which I’ve had for a few years. I love it for grating, finely chopping and blending things like biscuits and bliss balls. It’s not so good for smoothies – mostly because there are so many parts to wash. We make smoothies every day in our house so I have been wanting a blender for quite some time. My magimix had to go away for repairs recently so while it was gone I splashed out on an optimum 9400. Yippee – love it. I’ve had my magimix back for a week now and haven’t taken it out of the box! The optimum 9400 is great for smoothies, bliss balls, pesto, grinding nut flours and making cocktails. Not so great for mixing biscuits. And of course it can’t grate or chop anything as well as the food processor. As much as I’d prefer to only have one of them, I think for my needs I like to have both. If I were to choose one it would be the blender. Hope this helps. X Caroline. .

  2. You are so much fun! I love your humour and insights which you share with us. Your ruminations are often ones I have, so thank you for taking the time to put up for us all to enjoy and benefit from x

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