In my first installment, I looked at the base unit of the Bellini Intelli Kitchen Master. In this part, I take a look at the jug and blades of the machine. I was going to do another step-by-step look at all the parts but managed to even bore myself while writing it. So instead, here’s a list of Top Five tips for these items. Some of these have been gleaned from the fabulous folk at the Bellini Addicts facebook page (with a special mention to Jelena D. who is the Queen of all things Bellini, and so generous with helping people out). All these tips would work with most of the other thermal cookers too (except for the differences between the blades).
1. Cleaning the jug. Lots of people swear by putting some hot water and a drop of detergent in the jug, and then turning it on at a fast speed for a few seconds. I’ve never had much luck with this method. I take it to the tap, add detergent and then clean it with a long handled plastic dishbrush under a fast running hot tap. While the water is running, I swish the blades round with the end of the brush very quickly. 90% of the time, this will clean it beautifully without having to take the blades out.
2. Removing the blade. If you do need to take the blade out for cleaning or to swap to the mixing blade (see below), the Bellini booklet recommends that you “place the bowl in a vertical position” [also known as upside down]… “place a tea towel inside the bowl before disengaging lever and allow it to drop on to the towel”. It’s much easier to put the bowl on its side and remove the blades that way. You can often get away with swapping the blades with small amounts food still inside (e.g. a chopped onion) if you use this method.
3. Mixing blade vs chopping blade. The Bellini is the only thermocooker that comes with two sets of blades. This is an attempt to compensate for the reverse function of the Thermomix (which reverses the direction of the blade so food is stirred with the blunt edge of the blade rather than chopped).
I like to live dangerously and avoid changing the blades whenever I can, to the point of stupidity. It really doesn’t take long to swap them (see above), so god knows why I keep doing it. I don’t think it’s necessary to swap for
risotto or * pasta sauces. However, pulses, cooked pumpkin and boiled potatoes really, really do need the mixing blade. *(tonight I swapped the bladeto mixing for risotto for the first time – and it was a noticeably less gluggy risotto).
4. Measuring cup in or out? The measuring cup controls the amount of steam that returns into the the food – a bit like leaving a lid on a saucepan. So if you are trying to reduce a sauce, you might want to leave it off. Always leave it on when blending or anything hot. If you are cooking at 100C, you will probably need to leave it on as the mixture usually splatters out of the hole otherwise. You might be able to leave it off if only cooking a small quantity.
5. Getting batter off the blades. Particularly when making cake batters etc, it becomes debatable if it really is faster to do it in the Bellini as it takes ages to get all the batter from under and on the blades. To speed up the process, remove most of the batter from the jug, then put it back in the base unit with the lid on and pulse it a couple of times. This will fling all the batter from the blades and to the wall of the jug. It is then easy to scrape it out with a spatula.