Ed get to grips with this cutting and slicing gadget.
I have a horrible admission to make. To the best of my knowledge, I have never before used a mandoline (or a mandolin either, for that matter). I realise that this is an awful state of affairs, and should result in banishment from the kitchen forthwith, but there we go. It was quite nice, though, to break my mandoline virginity with this big beast from The Pampered Chef.
The first thing to note is that It is quite large, measuring 40 by 15cm, so storage may be an issue, but it is just short enough to fit in one of our kitchen drawers where there to be any space (ha!).
Second, rather than being restricted to one blade type, the Ultimate Mandoline has a cartridge system that permits you to use one of the four blades included – straight, V shaped, a grating blade and crinkle cut. The cartridges containing the blades slide in easily enough, and you’re ready to go. There’s a swing-out stand to support the mandoline at a suitable angle, and a handle at the top. The three blades – straight, V and crinkle – also have systems whereby they don’t protrude above the base of the mandoline unless the slider part is passing over the blade – which should help avoid those “oops, I’ve taken off my fingerprints” moments. Finally, the straight blade cartridge can adjust between two depths of cut of 2 and 3 mm.
The hole in the slider is quite large – so things like an apple will fit easily. There is a round “holder”, with plunger and spikes to help hold food items as you slice them, again, providing a much lower risk of accidents than a traditional wooden mandoline.
I tested it on carrots, cucumber and tomatoes. The great advantage of mandolines is the consistency of slice thickness, and the speed at which you can use them. For slicing lots of stuff, quickly, it was great. I did think that the large hole in the slider did mean grating carrots wasn’t quite straightforward as they were really too large for the hole. It’s not a major problem, though.
To conclude: if you want or need to do a lot of slicing, and particularly want a very consistent depth of slice, then a mandoline could be for you, and this one from The Pampered Chef does benefit from added safety features. If, however, all you want to do is slice a tomato or two, then a knife is quicker and takes much less washing up.
I suppose now I have to go and give the mandolin a try. Greensleeves?
Thank you to the Pampered Chef for my sample mandoline. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. These are my honest views of the product.