When Ant's friend Angela (who used to feed him at Uni before I came on the scene) moved away from London, she gave us an immersion blender. What a useful gadget! It is masterful for making blended soups, and it plays a key part in the speed of recipes like pasta with velvety sauce. (Using a regular blender means waiting for all the ingredients to cool down, then having to heat them back up again afterwards.)
I used our immersion blender three times this week: to make a salad dressing (pictured above before blending, and at the top of the post after blending), to make soup, and to make breadcrumbs. Angela's blender came with a great little beaker as well. But the blades are not so sharp any more and the motor section doesn't screw onto the blade section very straight any more either. But I saw this fancy blender at Sainsburys this past weekend, so it will be my next kitchen purchase. Or maybe someone will give it to me for my birthday?
It has a whisk and a mini food processor as well! I often think that a food processor would be my next logical (larger) purchase, but I've been putting it off until I find one with which I fall in love. I love the look of the KitchenAid mixer, but really I don't need a mixer; I need a food processor. Shame they are so ugly.
But this little hand blender will be a perfect addition to my collection of small appliances.