My Kitchen Tools
My kitchen tools are what I need to prepare my treats and make my life easier in the process. There is no doubt that some items I m about to list are a privilege to have in any kitchen, but its about building your stores over time and working out what suits you best. You will see endless potato peelers on offer in stores, and to many they will look the same, however you will soon find out, they are not! Angles of blades, the feel and size of the handles, the depth of peel....the list goes on. Time is the only way to find out what suits you best, so dont feel oblidged to buy everything in one go if your new to cooking. Like cooking itself, don't panic buy, love the time it takes to build a life long pantry.
Whilst some items may seem expensive remember if treated with love they will last a life time. My sister still has our grandmothers Kenwood mixer. Said Kenwood has had a very busy life, and one that led me to consider making cooking my career.
I m not going to list knives, its far too hard for me to advise on knives. Knives are like a chefs children and they often get to go on several holidays just because we feel naked not having them there. I can say that some advice I stood by whilst in Hong Kong consisted of two things! The first was to make sure the metal blade continued from the tip of the knife through the handle. This way you know its one solid piece of metal and therefore stronger. There is never a time when you want to see the handle disconnect from your knife, and whilst I m not talking about the old addage of chef s throwing a wobbly, sometimes when your fighting you way through an oversized pumpkin, this can result in some unexpected issues. The second, is to always try the knife for size...not the blade per say, but the handle. Its back to that weight and feel in your hands, and in your hands only.
The privilege items -
Kitchen Aid -
This machine has my heart. Over the years we have seen it evolve and manufactured into almost every colour over the rainbow. The big red as I call mine is now 27 years old and still running like a dream. There are so many attachments too avlaible now that you can mince, grate, blend , etc. So if your kitchen is small and space is an issue, then this machine is a must.
The Magimix is really a luxury item in a domestic kitchen. With all the small utensils avilable now and the continuing trend to make domestic cooking simple, this machine is better suited for people that cater for larger numbers. If you have space and you like to entertain, then treat yourself. Its optional blades to grate, slice, pulse make everything extremely quick and easy and despite the washing up, saves so much time. Now with its internal small pulsing bowl its great for choppoing herbs and juicing too.
One Mean Potato Machine - peeler
For anyone catering for large numbers this little beauty is irreplaceable Its always the preparation that seems so time consuming and peeling potatoes is a fine example. Great for beetroot, swede, celeriac.
The Pacojet -
The pacojet is a complicated one for me! Firstly its very expensive, secondly, you need to have a freezer designated just for your pacojet fruits of the loom, because its almost an addiction! The cost of all the additions and the containers alone is not cheap, so if you're looking into making a purchase, then breathe or sit down before you see the price. The thing is, this machine, makes the best ice cream, and once bitten you are so not shy. You can make your base, throw in your added extras and blend portion by portion if you wish. It makes great soup bases too and preserves the colour well. Ever tried making a good asparagus soup that retains that vibrant green colour. Its hard, unless you're a pacojet master, and then, well, quite frankly its hard to get it too wrong.
The one downfall, for me anyway, is that having too many flavours on offer means too much time blending when a person needs to try more than three flavours in one sitting...blending the whole container really only works if it's going to eaten in one go as I find that when it re freezes, its pretty tough going on the ice cream scoop. If you have the cash to splash then this is a cracker.
Everyone needs this! You can never make a Pina Colada worth its source without a blender. Its what I use to make my Hollandaise sauce too, (the cheat mentioned in my recipe pages). I have a dual blade Phillips machine which I m not sure they still make, but I recommend the dual blade.
The Nutribullet -
A new addition to my kitchen this last year. Like many I went through a moment of feeling the need to blend my breakfast and indulge in organic cacao nip, coconut water and goji berry smoothies, however, now its readily used to grind my thai herbs and or coffee beans. Of course I have the odd smoothie day still but I find its the BEST machine for herbs.
The basics -
Mixing Bowl -
A good old fashioned Mixing bowl - I m a lover of Mason cash, its a traditional bowl, heavy in stature and sits on the counter whilst you whisk without risk of it frizzbying across the kitchen and landing in an unattractive heap on the floor.
Springform tins -
I m not sure what I would do without my springform tins. I see no point is fighting to get the perfect cake out of the tin without risking its form, when we can buy tins that make life easy. I m a lover of Swift Faringdon tins because I like the strong fastening buckle on the outside of the tin, but there are many nonstick option available these days.
8" tins are a must for a domestic desert as the 12" tin will feed rather more people. I have two of each a some recipes I prefer to bake two layers for various cakes.
Fluted Flan tins -
The fluted flan tin or quiche tin is for me just for visual effect. Make sure they always have the removable base, as again, it makes your life easy, and of course non stick. Just remember when cooking with these tins, as you lift to place in the oven, remember to slide it onto a flat tray otherwise you may well find your fingers pushing up the base through your pastry cases! Again there are several sizes and shapes available to you now, so just buy what suits you're cooking needs.
Oven to table wear -
Many dishes especailly family catering are best served straight from the oven! I have for a long time been a supporter of Portmeirion tablewear as its both practical and looks pretty on the table. I have a selection of dishes from various countries that support this way of cooking! Spain is a typical example of oven to tableware and you cant beat the old fashioned terracotta Spanish or French Provencal dishes. I think this could be just one of my vice s and to make it ours I ve linkied the picture below to my blog page on beautiful things.
Preserving Jars -
I have a variety of sizes of preserving jars. Its important for me that I have jars with the rubber insert seal as I like to be able to hear the POP when you open them for the first time. Its a knowing that they are properly sealed since many items I make several weeks in advance and use for Christmas gifts or just to take with me to dinner parties rather than wine.....Questionable you ask, but I find them very well recieved.
Cheese Moulds & Cheescloth -
I love making cheese so I have an array of various cheese moulds and cheesecloth. You can buy inexpensive cheese moulds through Amazon or catering suppliers and in high street kitchen shops.
The Wooden Spoon -
Everyone s Kitchen needs Wooden spoons. My hack is simply to mark one that you will use for sweet sauces and leave the savour ones unmarked. Its never great to make custard with a spoon previously used to stir a tomato, garlic and chilli sauce. I also have one with a hole in the middle for stirring the cherry jam....if your wondering its to stop you squashing the fruit.
The Potato Masher -
This could be potentially dividing opinion. I m not a ricer! For me the bog standard Potato masher and a whisk is the winner. Its a little more work but the upper arms benefit. Below are two examples of styles. My preferred is on the left, I cant tell you why, its no secret, I just dont know.
The ladel -
Stainless steel & copper. One for everyday use and the other because my grandmother used her to make jams, not too mention it looks great hanging unused on the wall.
The Seive & Colander -
I have two. One simple metal seive, and one retro flour shaker. Although I m a fan of the industrial look, I like to mix it with retro pieces when I can find them. I have both a metal and retro colander too, just beacuse. Never plastic!!!
Pallet knife -
This is once again a personal preference. I seem to work better with a shorter handled pallet knife, its feels as though I have more control. Again follow the knife rule and find one that is made from one piece of material and weigh it up for size.
Wooden skewers -
The best baking freinds! The easy way to check if your cake is cooked through without burning your fingers.
The Tin Opener -
I cant tell how how many times I have not been in possession of a tin opener, and quite frankly that leaves you in the preverbal pickle. Tin openers are so un reliable or at least the modern ones! I have two retro tin openers which I truly believe are unbeatable. They are easy to carry and since one is nearly as old as me, this is my by far one of my most treasured peices.
The Slice, egg flipper -
Always silicon - to save my non stick pans..
Frying pan & griddle -
I admit, I have 4" cast iron skillets. They make the best looking fried eggs for guests, and are fabUlous.for making those individual tortillas. Cast iron, one piece, so it can go from stove top into the oven. I dont own any frying pans that have plastic handles, they must all be able to go in the oven. . A smoking hot griddle pan is a must.