Breville Kitchen Wizz 8 plus, food processor

World’s Worst Food Blogger – Shiny New Things (Food…

I like to think that I’m a fairly frugal kind of guy. I take pride in finding a deal and getting things as cheap as possible. Over time, I have learnt that this often means avoiding the very cheapest product available, as poor quality inevitably leads to premature failure and greater overall expense.

These days, I search high and low for the products that sit in that happy place between cost and build quality. I spend time reading reviews and, if I can, looking at the product in store to determine build quality. And if I see a bargain, I jump on it quickly.

Food Processor – a Necessity or Luxury?

Some things sit in the grey area between ‘necessary’ and ‘luxury’. One such kitchen appliance is the food processor. I had lived 30 years of my life just fine without one, so to call it a necessity is a stretch. However, like the dishwasher, once acquired it has proven to be a valuable tool. It is especially useful now that we have Hannah, as we try hard to provide her with as much home-made, natural food as possible. When our original (and very cheap) food processor died recently, I had to find a quality replacement, and quickly.

The Search for the Right Food Processor

I learnt that food processors come in two forms – Cheap and nasty, and expensive and good. While some of the cheaper versions looked okay, a multitude of bad reviews for each and every one that I looked at quickly turned me off them. I had already owned a cheap food processor, and while 4 years of service may be reasonable for the price that I paid, I now wanted something that could give me a solid decade of use.

As for the top of the range, I just couldn’t justify spending over $400 on a moderately used piece of equipment. To put things in perspective, that is what I recently spent on my new oven!

After much searching I finally stumbled upon a possible unit – The Breville Kitchen Wizz 8. This unit seemed to be based on the highly rated Kitchen Wizz 11 Plus, but with a few corners cut in order to reduce cost. The main differences appeared to be less metal and more plastic components, although on first glance it appears that the quality is still there where it matters most.

I was slightly hesitant to buy this unit, as a thorough search of the internet returned zero user reviews. I still can’t figure out why that is and it concerned me slightly. However, after comparing it side-by-side with its more expensive cousin, I was game enough to give it a go.

Breville, food processor, Kitchen Wizz 8 plus, Kitchen wizz 8
The Breville Kitchen Wizz 8

The Primary Purpose of a Food Processor

The main purpose of a food processor in my kitchen is to shred large amounts of vegetables, and to finely chop ingredients. The Kitchen Wizz 8 appears to be well-equipped to carry out these tasks. The direct-drive motor should be powerful enough for most tasks that I throw at it, while the shredding disk is solidly constructed. A stainless steel “Quad Blade” takes care of the chopping side of things and it seems sharp and robust. I plan to put each of those components through their paces shortly. I will report my findings in an in-depth review shortly.

quad blade, Breville, Kitchen Wizz 8, plus, food processor
Up close with one of the ‘Quad Blades’

The Gimmicks

Every appliance these days comes with secondary purposes. These are usually gimmicks, and I would never recommend buying a product based on these gimmicks. The Kitchen Wizz 8 is no different. It has a couple of attachments that I never would have sought out, and that certainly weren’t a part of the buying decision. But now that I have them, I’m keen to give them a go, if for no other reason than for novelty’s sake.

The first of these attachments is the blade. For many people, this may be a primary piece of equipment. But for me, I’ve always cut by hand. I have a set of high-quality (very sharp) knives and I enjoy using them for food preparation. I never once used the slice blade on our previous food processor. But the blade on the Kitchen Wizz 8 intrigues me. It is adjustable from just 0.3mm thick, to 6mm. If it is able to chop consistently and more finely than I am capable of doing by hand, it may well become a more heavily used component.

adjustable blade, Breville, Kitchen Wizz 8, plus, food processor
The adjustable blade

The other two ‘gimmick’ components are far less likely to find regular use. They are a dough blade and a potato peeler. I can count the number of times that I have made home-made dough on my nose (that’s once, for anyone unsure of how many noses I possess). As for the potato peeler, we will see. It has very specific instructions for how to optimise its use. They include specifying the exact shape and size of the potato. That goes against my newly-found potato-buying morals, so we will see if I’m willing to sell out for the sake of this contraption (my money is on yes). It would only really be useful and worthwhile if one had a significant amount of potatoes that needed peeling, so I believe it will end up rarely used.

potato chart, Breville, food processor, Kitchen Wizz 8, plus
It pays to be precise in your spud selection

A Blender Too?

I purchased the model with the blender attachment. We have never owned a blender, so I’m unsure how to properly utilise that bit, but as I could buy it for just $30 more (the unit was on sale at the time of writing), I decided it was worthwhile. The blender part appears to be similar to the Breville Kinetix Light and Mighty, which retails for $69.95, so I’m happy with the price. It is, however, worth noting that the food processor base only has two speeds (as well as pulse), which gives you less control than a stand-alone blender. The upside is that having two contraptions that use just one base saves room in my compact house. Time will tell if this was a useless upsell or a moment of genius.

base unit, blender, food processor, kitchen wizz 8, plus, Breville
The base unit of the Kitchen Wizz 8 has less functionality than that of a blender

I found the Kitchen Wizz 8 Plus in Myer, with a sale price of $199.20. The regular retail price is $249.

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Megablocks, construction, blocks, car

My Sunday Photo – From Destruction to Construction

My Sunday Photo for this week is of Hannah’s first Mega Bloks construction

This photo represents the reaching of a significant milestone for Hannah. It is a record of the first time that she has successfully constructed something with blocks.

She has been playing with blocks for a long time, but that play has involved watching me build things, then knocking them down. She has had destruction mastered for many months now. But this week, she took herself over to the block container and started building.

Every block on the contraption was placed there by Hannah. I was particularly impressed with how tall she made her tower. She was also tenacious in building it, as on many occasions it fell down. Each time, Hannah examined the pieces and found a better way to put them together.

When Hannah completed her construction, she drove it around for a while making ‘brmm brmm’ noises. As if I wasn’t proud enough already…

 

Megablocks, construction, blocks, car

Photalife
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skin cancer, mole, skin, body, health

Skin Cancer and the Boiled Lolly

The scourge of skin cancer in Australia

Skin cancer is a devastating reality of life in Australia. We have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. According to Sun Smart Victoria, 2 in 3 of us will be diagnosed with a form of skin cancer by the age of 70, and skin cancers account for more than 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year.

These statistics are huge, and I believe most Australians are vaguely aware of them. We have now had several decades of sun-smart programs, ad campaigns, lessons in schools and highly visible posters in doctor’s surgeries, warning us of the dangers and compelling us to Slip Slop Slap (and in more recent years Seek Slide).

 

 

Because of the significant possibility of developing skin cancer, I visit my local skin doctor on an annual basis. Last week my phone beeped with an alert. It informed me that it was once again time for my check-up.

Ten minutes of discomfort

Going to the skin doctor is a strange experience – it is mildly uncomfortable for several reasons. At the forefront of my mind is that I may go home with slightly less of me than I had when I entered. This is because on several occasions my doctor has removed suspicious-looking growths for further analysis. The removal of such growths isn’t overly painful, just a quick local anaesthetic, a bit of scalpel work then a couple of stiches to hold you back together again. The whole thing takes about ten minutes.

But there are other aspects of visiting the skin doctor that make it uncomfortable too. On my last visit the doctor ushered me into a room, where he asked me to strip down to my underwear. He then left the room. I assume he does this to provide a sense of privacy while undressing, but I don’t quite get it. I know that in the end he’s just going to see me in my jocks anyway. If anything, it just adds to the sense of discomfort, because inevitably I end up standing around in nothing but my y-fronts, waiting for his return.

I’m also never quite sure whether I’m supposed to be sitting down, standing, or lying on the surgical bed ready for my examination. I was mid-way through pondering this question when the doctor returned. As a result, he caught me in a semi-squatting position – mid sit.

As he lifted each side of my underwear to check for signs of arse-skin cancer, he lamented the political career of poor ol’ Gough.

He entered the room, quickly glanced at my file, then launched into a monologue about dead Australian Prime Ministers. This threw me a bit, as I was expecting the usual ‘How’s your family?’ small talk that health professionals usually seem to stick with. At the same time, his eyes started darting across my body. For the briefest of moments he would hold his magnifying glass up to a curiosity, assess it, then move on to the next. All the while he continued with his speech about politicians of the past.

Every now and then he threw in an instruction – lift your arm, turn around, lie on the bed. But the main focus of thought appeared to be his chosen topic. As I lay face down on the bed, the doctor waxed lyrical about Gough Whitlam and his It’s Time election slogan. As he lifted each side of my underwear to check for signs of arse-skin cancer, he lamented the political career of poor ol’ Gough.

By this point in the examination I had become quite engrossed in the doctor’s monologue. He had taken me on a journey through some fascinating and some poignant moments of Australian history. I waited eagerly for the moral, the purpose of the good doctor’s story, but instead his voice just trailed off…

“The good news is that I won’t have to chop you today,” the doc declared. “Put your clothes back on, see you next year.”

I sat up, hoping that the doctor would provide some closure to his story.  But as I turned around, all that I was left with was the ‘click’ of the door through which he had made a quick escape. By the time I was buckling my belt, I could hear the doctor’s voice in the next room. He was already talking to his next patient. I can only imagine what interesting, yet ultimately pointless story he had begun. It dawned on me that his story had been nothing but a distraction. It was merely something to take my mind off the awkwardness of the situation, to reduce my nerves about what may be found.

The moral of the story…

I put on the rest of my clothes and headed to the counter. I looked at the ubiquitous bowl of boiled lollies on the counter, which I normally ignore. But this time I gave a wry smile and picked one up. Suddenly, the lolly had assumed great significance. It’s message to me was simple – The discomfort is minor, the consequences are real, so suck it up.

 

I looked at the receptionist and asked her to book me an appointment for the same time next year.

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lamb roast

World’s Worst Food blogger – Lamb Roast

I have a thing for a good lamb roast. It’s hereditary, my family have same attitude towards a lamb roast as the U.S military have towards their soldiers – none shall be left behind.

I have been cooking lamb for a long time, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it. My arsenal of techniques has developed over time and I am quite comfortable cooking everything from a beautifully pink-in-the-middle quick roast, to an epic 9-hour, falling off the bone affair.

Time constraints can sometimes be the key factor in how I choose to cook the lamb. They certainly were last week when I knocked up this tasty meal. I had wanted to go for my current favourite, the low and slow cooking technique, but my local supermarket had completely run out of roasting joints. I had no option but to pick some up at another supermarket, much later in the day. Because if this I settled on a hybrid of 2 and a half hours on 100 degrees Celsius, and 1 hour on 200.

The end result was surprising good. Beautifully browned outer crust with tender, dark red/brown meat on the inside.

Flavour Country

I opted for a Mediterranean-style flavouring of fresh oregano, rosemary garlic and lemon. I am lucky enough to have access to a plentiful supply of the herbs, so I was able to give the lamb a liberal coating. You can never have too much of that stuff, as far as I’m concerned.

I cooked the lamb on top of a bed of vegetables, onion and cloves of garlic. They all soaked up the lamb flavour and made a delicious side dish to the main event.

I added potatoes an pumpkin to the oven at the same time as I turned up the temperature, then left them in to finish cooking while I rested the lamb at the end. A tzatziki-style sauce provided the finishing touch to a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

lamb roast
I know it’s blurry and that I cast a shadow over the plate. Be thankful I stopped for long enough to take the pic.

I actually took some quick photos of this one before I ate, because I had to brag to my Twitter friends. Not that I’m petty or anything…

A good lamb roast is dead-easy to make and at tasty as food comes. Why not give it a go some time?

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Guest post, Hannah, typing, keys

Dude, Where’s My Car (Keys)?

As a parent, I try to be ‘present’ as much as possible when I am around my daughter. I love the times when she has my full attention, and we play together or read books, or play hide-and-seek.

Sometimes, adult things just need to be done. Bills have to be paid, emails responded to, cooking done… it’s just not possible to give a child 100% of your attention, all the time. But toddlers don’t understand that. They have particular feelings at particular times, and these feelings are quite separate from your desire to get things done. As a consequence, distractions are sometimes required.

Take, for example, my experience last night. I was sitting at the table, tapping away on my laptop keyboard, when Hannah wandered over and took a great interest in what I was doing. Not content with watching me type away (Hannah is never content to just watch), she insisted on being part of the action. I can’t blame her, the clicking of keyboard keys and the bright screen are enough to entice any toddler to interaction.

I needed a distraction and I needed one quickly. I was in the zone with my writing and I really didn’t want to break my concentration at that point (It’s always so hard to start again, and it’s never as good). Almost absent-mindedly, I reached for the one thing on the table that was even more enticing than the laptop – my keys.

What is it about keys? I don’t understand it at all. I used to laugh at the stereotypical image of a parent dangling a set of keys in front of a baby, but I don’t laugh any more. Keys have a mysterious power over the infant mind. They hypnotise it in ways that even science can’t explain (I’m assuming this, I have in no way bothered to research the validity of this statement). It works. I don’t know why, but it just does. Anyway, back to the story…

I handed the set of keys to Hannah without a second thought and I carried on writing. The distraction had worked and Hannah toddled off to examine her newly-acquired treasure. All was good.

The only thing was, I had broken the golden rule of letting a toddler play with something they shouldn’t otherwise have – I hadn’t watched what she did with it.

This rule is fundamental and universal. Take, for example, letting your child play with a pen. She will examine it carefully, and look ever so grown up with it while you have your eye on her. But dare blink and immediately a blue line will appear on the wall. You will then look down at your child and she will innocently look back up at you, blue ink all over her face and the remanets of an exploded blue pen in her hand.

Or your phone. The innocent and adorable child, sitting at your feet and swiping through some mindless game, will flush that bad-boy down the toilet if given even half a window of opportunity.

After a substantial period of quiet play by Hannah and excellent writing by me, it began to dawn on me that I had made a terrible mistake. A niggling little sound at the back of my mind turned into full-blown alarm bells as I realised that Hannah had moved on from the keys, and she was now playing with her toy train.

I snapped out of my writing haze and focussed fully on the burning question – Where are my keys?

“Where are my keys?” I asked Hannah, fully aware that it would be futile. She looked up at me briefly, smiled, then returned her full attention to her train.

I tried to retrace Hannah’s movements in my mind, but that was useless. My attention had been on my laptop and I had no idea what she had been up to. I had vague recollections of her wandering past the table and towards the stairs, but that was it. They could be anywhere in the house.

I began looking in toy boxes and drawers. I searched under the cushions on the couch, then under the couch its self. I headed up stars and checked the bedrooms. Nothing.

I headed back down stairs and resigned myself to a thorough search of the house once Emma returned home. I was annoyed that I had so easily given away something so important, all for the sake of a few minutes of uninterrupted writing time.

When I returned to the play mat, Hannah was still sitting and playing with her toy train. She was completely oblivious to my frantic searches. Defeated, I slumped into my chair. Hannah was still engaged with her train, but I was no longer in the zone to write.

A short time later, Emma returned home. We said our hellos, then almost immediately she looked to the spot on the play mat where Hannah had been sitting.

 

“Why are your keys on the floor?” She asked.

 

The Pramshed
DIY Daddy Blog
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