Collecting kitchen tools and gadgets can be a dangerous thing to start (trust me I know – we HAD to extend our kitchen just make more cupboard space!). Over the years I have bought or been gifted loads of gadgets, gizmos and tools – many of them used once never to be seen again! But there are a handful that get used over and over again and these days I could not imagine cooking without them! Here they are!
- Potato Ricer
Forget lumpy stodgy mash and achy arms! A potato ricer produces THE best fluffy soft mash with very little effort. (There’s a scientific reason for this but I won’t bore you with the details!) Don’t be fooled by its name though – it’s not just for potatoes! I’ve used it to make baby food, mash root veg, remove excess water from foods. Crush large garlic, making short noodles, crushing biscuits… I promise you, your family and dinner guests will be complimenting you on your mash for years!
- Kitchen Tongs
Seriously, what on earth did I do before I got some of these? Oh I know, struggle, ruin food, burn myself and generally throw food around the pan! I have two sets these days, one silicone to protect my non stick pans and one metal for extra ‘pincing’ control! If you have to choose – go for a silicon all rounder. Turning sausages and getting an even brown will never be the same again! A really cheap and useful addition to your utensil draw.
- Knife sharpener
I do not have a particularly expensive set of knives (shocker!) – but I do have a knife sharpener. They come in all shapes, sizes and prices! I use the kind where you drag the knife through a V shaped blade, it was under £10 and is very small. There is nothing more satisfying than cutting and chopping with a sharp knife it makes me feel all cheffy! I will say though, if you have posh set of knives you’ll want an appropriate sharpener or stones so you don’t ruin your blades!
- Measuring spoons
I’ve had multiple sets and versions of these – but you can’t beat a stainless steel set linked together so you don’t loose them! One of things I teach in my classes is measures! Normally, I am not too fussed about weights and measures its just not my style – but in some recipes, especially when baking – measures can be the difference between a cooking fete or a cooking fail! A teaspoon of yeast is just that a teaspoon measure – no more no less and it’s actually 2.83g so using the spoon you stir your tea with just won’t cut it!
- Kitchen rings
Now, I know these sound fancy, well maybe they are a little – but adding a bit of glamour to your plate is great when hosting a dinner party (or just treating yourself!) and can really help you hone your presentation skills. As well as using them for layering, stacking and making potato or rice towers, I also use my kitchen rings for poaching eggs, making crumpets, muffins, pancakes, cutting pastry and dough. If you’re calorie conscious they are also great for helping with portion control!
- Stand mixer
Don’t let the thought of a stand mixer frighten you! I put off getting one for years and then… I got one as a gift! Forget the excuses – they’re too big, too expensive, too ugly – it just won’t fly. The choice these days is amazing ranging from entry level and professional ones to beautiful ones and space saving ones. Make sure you get one with a good range of attachments and you’ll soon be wondering what you did with out it!
- Bread machine
OK, so this one IS a bit of a luxury especially as I don’t actually use it to make bread… In my defence it was given to me as a gift and I DID make bread in it for a good year when I was experimenting with gluten free, until I realised oven baked bread really was better. I like to have a fresh loaf at home regularly, but these days working full time, being a mum and you know being on the internet all the time I don’t always have the time to wait around for dough to rise… and then rise again. I use the dough setting on my bread machine – yes its true I cheat (not always mind!), that way I know that my dough will be ready to shape in 90 mins regardless of how hot or cold the the room is. Genius right?
- Nutri Bullet and/or Food Processor
Yeah alright, I know… that’s technically 9! I would like to say that I could happily go with just one, but on reflection, I can’t. The Nutri Bullet offers a quick (and I mean quick!), easy to clean and powerful method of blitzing and milling pretty much anything. I use it to make a quick pesto, making nut flours, bread crumbs, baby puree (back in the day), smoothies, fruit purees and loads more! But if I need to make a quick pasta dough, pastry or cooking for more than two the food processor comes out of the cupboard. And it comes out a surprising amount! Mine comes with a grating attachment that makes light work of grating large amounts of cheese and vegetables.
What kitchen tools do you love?