Recently, an enormous box arrived at English Towers with a lovely note from the folks at Kenwood: ‘we know you love cooking, so would you like this beautiful Kenwood Chef Elite?’ Seriously generous, right? But I didn’t rush to open it, because, well, I’ve got a mixer already that I’ve had for ages and love, and on the box it looks all complicated and new-fangled, not homely and quirky like mine. Not wanting to seem ungrateful, though, and because everyone kept complaining that there was a huge box on the kitchen floor, I opened it up and popped it onto the kitchen counter. Well. Cue choirs of angels singing and all that jazz, because this thing is beautiful. Seriously, I sent a pic to Mr E and he replied ‘erm, wow. It really goes in our kitchen’. To give it a thorough test, though, and make sure it has brains as well as beauty, I attempted some Christmas crumble muffins with my sleek and shiny new baby. Here’s how I got on:
Yes, my first impressions were that it’s a bit, well, industrial, but that actually turns out to be a good thing: it’s mega-sturdy, feels really chunky and solid, and everything clicks and clunks into place in a reassuring manner. Comparison being the thief of joy, and all that, I hate to pit one against the other, but the bowl is really wide and fits in really easily (no guessing which way you have to turn to get it out and accidentally tightening it more), there’s a lovely head shield, which is virtually invisible but protects the mechanism from getting full of cake mixture and flour, it’s really to use, there’s a pulse setting, and you can start it off really gently which is perfect for not losing yourself in a cloud of icing sugar when you first start mixing.
The two covers you can see in the top picture (also very chunky and solid) hide places where you can attach something like 20 different attachments to do stuff like grating, grinding, dicing, juicing, slicing, processing and blending and it’s got a very powerful 1200w engine under the bonnet too.
On to the muffins, then:
Christmas crumble muffins
For the crumble:
50g self raising flour
25g light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
For the muffins:
300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g dark chocolate, chopped
100g pistachios, chopped
150g light brown sugar
100g butter, melted
Zest and juice of a clementine
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 and pop some paper cases into a muffin tin.
First, make the crumble. Weigh out the flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon, then pop them into the mixer and process until they resemble fine-ish breadcrumbs. Pop into a bowl and set aside for later.
Next, sift the flour and baking powder and add it to the mixer bowl along with the sugar, cranberries, chocolate and pistachios.
Leave those there while you quickly melt the butter, juice and zest the orange, beat the eggs and finally mix them all together along with the milk and vanilla.
Now, set the mixer on low, and gently pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until it’s just come together (it doesn’t even matter if you can still see a bit of flour).
Using an ice cream scoop, pop a scoop of mixture into each paper case and finish with a sprinkling of the spiced, crumble mixture.
Bake for around 25 minutes until golden.
If you fancy finding the Kenwood Chef Elite KVC5100S (RRP £420) in your stocking this Christmas,