A little bit of Handel.
I am without doubt the least experienced, least able tenor in the Crawley based Phoenix choir, that I joined a few months ago at the behest of the very kind and thoughtful customer, who also reads this email, called Jane. With the help of two fellow singers Robin and Christine who are my travelling companions down there and back, and the support of fellow tenors Mike, Ben, Bob, Alistair, and Rick plus a few others I’ve managed to keep coming back for more. More of what I hear you asking? Well Handel’s Messiah actually. As I may have already told you I was a choral scholar at Reigate St Marys Choir School in the mid 60’s. I’ll not tell you what I thought of the school generally as that won’t get me any brownie points (and I am not a fan of schools in general, once bitten twice shy and I believe its changed in the meanwhile anyway!) but the Choir room was a haven of safety and beautiful music, even if I say so myself. Indeed the quality of sound that we produced earned us the right to be invited to sing with the St Paul Choir at the cathedral every Christmas and of course it was the Messiah that we performed
However singing the soprano part is a very far cry from singing the tenor part. He’s clever bloke Handel and can make 4 quite different tunes come together to produce a delightful sound. The tenor part , to my ear is the least like the soprano part I sang 55 years ago and oh boy is it a challenge! One that I am hopelessly ill equipped for, as I don't read music, don't have perfect pitch and am used to memorising what we sang so that I knew what was coming next! On top of that, 50 years ago we practised 4 afternoons plus Sunday morning every week. Now we have less than two hours of practice a week.
Despite my presence though, the sound that we as a choir are now producing is actually pretty good and we are giving a concert at the Hawth (Crawley Theatre) today, Saturday 2nd of April at 7.30pm So it’s very last minute, but if you’re a spontaneous sort of person, and if you are at all into 18th century oratorios, the Messiah has to be one of the best known, and for very good reason, there are some fabulous tunes in it. Tickets are available at the Hawth Box office. https://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/The-Hawth/Ticket/466a1911-894d-ec11-aa44-90f5688bb15a/messiah-by-g-f-handel/916204
Magimix Food Processors.
I was in Banstead for training last week and unusually for us it was the manufacturer who was doing it. I say unusually because it’s fairly rare that we allow someone from outside in to do our training, as often they only really know their own product. What we need is the product put into the context of the market, and of how their range fits in with what we sell. So for example even for a company like Le Creuset, Vicky our account manager, needs to know that whilst she's selling a very good product, she's also has to be aware that better exists, in the form of Demeyere, as competition for her “3Ply” and “TNS” ranges. We all need context.
Anyway, let’s get back to this training session which on this occasion is from the French Food Processor company Magimix. Now for more years than I can remember, Magimix have been lucky enough to have employed the services of the ever helpful, charming and knowledgeable Jayne Placket. She's our account manager and what she doesn’t know about her products isn’t worth knowing. Importantly she'd also well informed on what the competition are up to. Luckily for her, like Demeyere, her Food Processors are best on the market which has to make her job easier I suppose. But I have to confess that I wasn’t really expecting to learn anything much new at this session…(sorry Jayne!) thought I knew it all. I was in for a pleasant surprise though. So what I’m recalling here is a mixture of stuff I didn’t know before, stuff that she reminded me of and stuff that I think might be important to you when considering upgrading your food processor…if indeed you are?
One of the reasons that Magimix still have little competition in the market, is because of what they put in the heart of the machine. This is an AC Induction Motor. An induction motor has no brushes (to wear out), no drive belts (to wear out), no gearboxes (get noisy), and in short the motor is a classic case of “Fit and Forget”… it just carries on working day after day, year after year, with normally no maintenance required. It drives directly onto the blade or whisk and self-adjusts the power for whatever its doing, you don’t need to adjust the speed, it will always keeping the same revs whether whisking the whites of an egg or making bread dough...clever or what! The motor is the same as Magimix put in their professional “Robot Coupe” machines made for the catering trade. The only difference being that with the domestic Magimix range you get a 30 year guarantee on the motor. Whilst the Robot Coupe range, used in the harsh environment of a commercial kitchen, it's just 10 years.
And talking guarantees, Magimix are in for the long haul with you as their customer. They provide a 3 year guarantee on everything else, bowl, body and blades but all these items are replaceable. They currently keep spares for machines up to 30 years old. That in my experience is unusual and the spares company they use (BBS) have a very good website should you need them. And should you have cause to ring or email Magimix in Godalming, I think you'll be in for a treat in the way and manner in which your questions will be answered. They have people there who really know what they are talking about and really want to resolve whatever your problem is. So there is a great synergy between Art of Living and Magimix, with a very people centred approach being the common factor.
So what else did I glean from Jayne's training session, that I didn’t know before. Well the bowls are now dishwasher safe. For 7 or 8 years now they’ve been using Triton. a material which is both BPA free (a Good Thing!) and can be put top or bottom in the dishwasher, without the bowls crazing, which is what they used to do eventually (we used to recommend hand washing to get the longest life out of them…no longer!). And when it comes to their strength, I recall Jayne's predecessor, Nick Williams, standing on the side of a Magimix bowl to demonstrate how unbreakable they are, and Nick was no lightweight (sorry Nick if you’re reading this... truth hurts sometimes!...and maybe I’m exaggerating for a little effect).
All three models (3200, 4200 & 5200) come with three bowls. Mini for doing small amounts of say herbs or a dip and incidentally makes washing up a doddle. A midi bowl ,which in fact I don’t think I've ever used on ours at home or saw Babette using either, but I discovered on Thursday that this is the correct bowl for using the egg whisk in and it’s also the right one for grating and slicing, as it keeps everything well contained. You can, as we’ve always done at home, use the big bowl for grating into if you have very large quantities. So the big bowl is for large amounts. Enough said.
Six other points that struck me as she went through her training session that filled an hour like it was 10 minutes!
1. You can make bread dough in it (it won’t be quite as good as the results from a KitchenAid stand mixer though, but not at all bad, and next to no effort and exceedingly quick)
2. The blade is very close to bottom of the bowl so there not much the blade misses
3. Everything happens extremely fast on a Magimix. One moment there's a hunk of cheese in the shoot, 2 seconds later you have a bowl full of grated cheese.
4. The Pulse action (the only other button on the machine) does give you very fine control especially for chopping in the bowl.
5. Magimix have been award the “Quiet Mark” so as well as all the other benefits you get with the market leader, it’s also not going to deafen you which is quite surprising considering the speed at which it works
6. As a rough guide, the capacities of the models are 3200 - 4 people, 4200 - 6 people, 5200 - 8 people.
Now it just so happens, (and this wasn’t planned, sadly) that if you buy either a 3200 or 4200 or a 5200 model, at the moment you can claim £100 worth of de Buyer(pronounced “de bwee yay”) baking accessories which include (the claim has to done directly to Magimix not us)
- A Silicone tart mould
- A Perforated Round Flan Tin Perforations give you crispier results
- A 2lb Loaf Tin non-stick coated
- And a Silicone Baking Mat…very nice quality
De Buyer, another French company, make very high end cookware and their bakeware range is no exception to this, which I think fits very well with Magimix approach.
And lastly for this weekend only as a wee treat, you may take £20 off your bill by using code MAGIC20 when buying a 3200, 4200 or 5200 online or tell us who you are if coming into the shops.
That’s it for this week, so may I wish you a very pleasant and peaceful weekend.
PS. We are still looking for great people. So Sales positions in Banstead, Cobham, Reigate and a Trainee / Qualified Warehouse manager, in Redhill.