It's a bit of a handsome beast and at 46cm, rather tall! I like the kind of modern take on '50s styling, and the robust glass jug has an impressive capacity: 1.4L for soup and hot liquid, 1.75L for cool liquid, both with no minimum volume. The jug contains a powerful, precision controlled heating element and powerful stainless steel blades for perfect blending. It is also thermally treated glass so will keep the food warm after the cooking cycle has finished, and I must say being able to see everything going on is very useful.
There are three heat settings to cook raw ingredients perfectly, and an advanced non-stick cooking plate for easy sautéing and cleaning. Just pop your first ingredients in, set the time and temperature settings and you're off.
After adding extra ingredients, the slow stir function gently mixes everything together, perfect for risottos, and then continues to cook. A handy removable stopper to the jug's lid helps when adding ingredients during the cycle. The process can also be stopped and started at any time to add more ingredients or adjust the seasoning, all without affecting the cooking cycle chosen via the simple push buttons.
An audible beep at the end of the cooking cycle means you can leave the machine to do its thing whilst you get on with something else, perfect for a quick, labour-free risotto or soup. Whilst the clear digital display shows you exactly how long is left.
If making a soup, you can then choose to keep a chunky texture, or to blend at the end of the cooking cycle for a smooth finish. There are four speed functions plus a pulse option, giving you complete control over the consistency. It can also be used as a power blender for blending smoothies and crushing ice, we've got our eye on this mojito recipe.
We made this great mushroom risotto recipe which was so straightforward to do in the Soup Maker Plus and turned out really well. The consistency was perfect for us, the flavours combined well and it was so easy to make.
The next recipe we tried was a thick soup one with wintry flavours of chestnut, carrot and lentil. This is also turned out well, a great thick consistency, smooth and well flavoured. We were impressed with how hot the soup got during cooking, and that it cooked so easily, without all the hassle of trasnferring to a blender at the end or using a hand blender. Here's the recipe:
Chestnut, Carrot & Lentil Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
pinch of chilli flakes
1 onion, roughly chopped
300g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
70g red split lentils
500ml vegetable stock
pinch of sea salt
1. Set the timer to 25 minutes on 'SIMMER'. Add the olive oil to heat and then add the onion, cumin seeds and chilli flakes. Soften for several minutes. 'STIR' occasionally.
2. Add the carrots, lentils, milk, stock and chestnuts and set to 'HIGH' until the soup reaches a boil.
3. Set the Soup Maker to 'SIMMER' for the remainder of the cooking time. 'STIR' occasionally. If the lentils are not soft add another 5-10 minutes.
4. 'BLEND' the soup on setting 2 until smooth. Season to taste.
We have also made the ubiquitous smoothies and the Soup Maker Plus worked perfectly again. next on our list to try are those mojitos and to try making jam in it. Keep an eye out for our afternoon tea post coming soon to see how we get on. How useful to have one machine that can do so many things.
My only quibble with the Soup Maker Plus would be that the jug is rather heavy to lift and hold whilst you are serving your recipe, but apart from that we are delighted with it. The easy to clean function means that you just add water to the blender after use and turn it on, it essentially cleans itself.
We would certainly recommend the Cuisinart Soup Maker Plus. It retails at £140 and is available from Lakeland and other retailers.