50 shades of brown; adventures with blending



If you mix all the parts of a home-cooked meal together they will inevitable look brown. To make brown you mix a primary with its complementary colour, for example blue and orange or red and green. There’s no going back; once it’s brown it can’t go back, just change shade.

We set out on a voyage of discovery, using three different kinds of blender; the hand-held, the mini and the juicer. After a week on tube feeds Mike would have eaten anything, so he was happy to try everything, which is just as well because there’s no hiding it; some of the food ended up looking like it had been eaten once already.

In celebration of Mike putting Audrey into semi-retirement our lovely neighbours, Chris and Baerbel, threw a “Will It Blend” event for him. The usual suspects all turned up (we are blessed with a fantastic group of friends in The Square) and the blending commenced!

Baerbel, our talented and welcoming host.


On the left, Sag Aloo (homemade with fragrant potatoes with spinach, cumin, garam masala, garlic, onion and other yummy ingredients). We added some of the juice from the cauliflower curry after our first attempt because it did not blend. Not at all. The end result was fair although the spinach was resistant to anything more than wrapping itself round the blades.

On the right is Baerbel’s wonderful chicken curry. It blended beautifully and although it resembled something which should never be mentioned at the dinner table a little coriander garnish and it looked fine.

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Of course, it’s never going to look as attractive as Karen’s un-blended plate, and we drew the line at trying naan and samosas.

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Sarah added some well-cooked basmati rice and cauliflower curry, which was very soft, and Mike tucked in!

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Mike and his buddies enjoy a moment of male bonding over the lovely curry and a choking episode on an onion bargee.

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Blending all of Mike’s meals soon became routine; our biggest problem was getting whoever was on the washing up rota to stop ignoring the blender.

Tesco Pepperoni Ready Meal blended well but needed some extra pasta sauce. I keep a jar in the fridge and just slosh some extra in if it’s looking a bit too stodgy.



Tinned peaches in syrup with fresh mango. Even ripe, the mango didn’t blend until the tinned peaches and syrup were added.

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Spaghetti Bolognese with a “garnish” of peas and some pasta sauce which had been warmed up.

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Macaroni cheese blends really well and doesn’t need anything added to make it a good consistency. With some parmesan and black pepper it looked OK and tasted lovely.

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Spaghetti with meatballs was not great when blended and needed a lot of extra sauce to make it wet enough to swallow.

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Gauging how much sauce or gravy to add to the meat element of a meal is an art; too much and it looks like wet brown cement. Too little and it looks like tree bark.


Hunter’s Chicken.Pretty gross unfortunately.

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Ham hock with mustard sauce, mashed potato, cabbage and carrots combined. While this looks quite disgusting it was a great success.


Chicken casserole has got to be the most successful meal when it comes to appearance; it was helped by being cooked slowly so the carrots were extremely soft.

5 Chicken caserole

Spaghetti Carbonara blended very easily and although it looked like cold Ready Brek tasted lovely. Apparently.

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This is what roast chicken, mash and veg looks like. More green than brown really.

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So on to the blenders…………

The hand held blender was pretty rubbish when it came to large volumes, leaving chunks in the bottom of the jug. The smoothie maker sometimes struggled with pasta and chicken and was a beast to clean as food gets under the seal and the seal is tricky to remove. The Kenwood Mini comes out top as it blends well and is the easiest to clean although it took a few tries (and swears) to work out how to click it into place on the base. It’s perfect for blending each part of the meal separately but as it’s quite small you’d struggle if you wanted to blend the entire plate full in one go.

So for now we’ve settled into a routine of cooking and blending and Mike has decided to lay off the Hoola Hoops to see if this stops his persistent cough.

11 thoughts on “50 shades of brown; adventures with blending

  1. Maria Godebska

    Do you try to or have to avoid oily, fatty foods like yoghurt and coconut milk/cream? I imagine they would aid blending.
    Most of these look fine and familiar (I am not, myself, a good or enthusiastic cook 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike

    Wonderful. I’m looking forward to you growing in confidence and preparing a cordon bleu demonstrating the full colour spectrum… Happy blending and much love from here. N.B we have a TOP kebab van. Would a mixed kebab blend…?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fantastic load of different dishes , bet you had some fun Mike tasting those well done to all you cooks . More selection than a lot of restaurants .Julia you have a brilliant way with words.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Abi

    I notice you’re not blending peas – do be careful, the skins can be quite troublesome!! Such a great blog, and given that I frequently have to recommend a purée diet it is very reassuring to know it’s not all bad! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Abi. It is much better than PEG feeds and good to keep using my swallow. I had a 3 month MND check up today – I’ve had a few chest infections this year and so they have advised me to reduce what I eat and start using Audrey to get my calories – saving eating for the nice stuff.. e.g. chocolate puddings!


  5. emma

    You two are such an inspiration! I think you should share you finding’s with the kitchens in the NHS. I think they could learn a lot from your research!!


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