Photo: Vernon Wong. Art Direction & Styling: Ann Neo
WHAT IT IS
The Philips Avance Collection Cooking Blender not only whizzes food in its 2-litre glass jug like a regular blender, it can also heat up and cook it. You can control the duration (5- 60min) and temperature (low, medium and high) manually, or use the four automatic cooking programs – Asian Soup, Pureed Soup, Bean Milk and Porridge. The appliance beeps when the food is ready.
As a blender, it has four speed settings to blend juices, smoothies and sorbets or make rempah, as well as a function to crush ice.
WHAT I MADE
Soups My pumpkin soup turned out smooth and velvety. In my kimchi soup, the spicy paste blended well with the chicken stock while the tofu, leek and carrots didn’t become too mushy after cooking – just how I like it.
Chicken congee I popped in chicken stock, pre-soaked rice, boneless chicken and dried scallops into the glass jar and chose the Porridge setting. The machine automatically blended everything, then cooked it for 30 minutes. I liked that there was still some bite from the small chunks of chicken and scallops in the otherwise smooth congee.
Soya bean milk I had to strain it a couple of times before drinking but found the hot beverage fresh and aromatic.
Banana smoothie The blender didn’t work as well as I’d expected. My bananas were not fully blitzed and when using the Pulse/Ice Crush function, I had to stop the machine a few times to push the ice cubes towards the blades so that they could be well crushed.
WHAT I LIKED
- It was super-convenient to make soups and congee, which they turned out delicious.
- The glass jug’s wide mouth made it easy to add ingredients, and it cooked enough to serve four to six people.
- It comes with a 40ml measuring cup that is detachable from the lid of the jug – this made it easy to add ingredients like starch at the end of cooking.
- The non-skid base kept the appliance firmly on my countertop.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER
- The manual could be clearer on which cooking program and temperature was needed for what dishes. I burnt my rempah because I cooked it on the high setting – I only learnt from the press release that the heat settings were 60, 80 and 100 deg C.
- If only it was easier to pour out ingredients at the bottom of the jug; some also got stuck in between the blades, like the tofu in the kimchi soup, and chicken in the congee. It was also hard to clean out leftover food from the underside of the blades.
The appliance’s no-supervision-needed convenience is great for busy nights when you want comfort food fast. Just prep the ingredients and it does the cooking for you.
Philips Avance Collection Cooking Blender HR2099/90, $499, is available at major department and electrical stores.