5 kitchen items to make cooking at home easier
Posted 22 January 2013 10:53
A well run kitchen needs gadgets! They don't have to be high tech - sometimes the best tool for the job is a wooden spoon - but they do need to be useful and make cooking easier and more fun! Here are 5 of the most vital items.
It's easy to overlook how important knives are and just put up with inferior quality. Good knives, though, make the job so much simpler and safer! A good knife cuts and does much of the work for you, a bad one tears food and can be uncomfortable to use.
A proper bread knife and vegetable knife are good places to start, but eventually you'll want one for every type of cutting and chopping you do, from a really good knife for carving and one for cutting raw meat if you eat it, to a paring knife - and possibly a pair of kitchen shears. Don't forget a sharpening stone, too.
Multipurpose and great fun, blenders, whether immersion or stand up, are an important addition to any kitchen. You don't realise just how great they are until you have one but you'll never manage without again! Blended, smooth soups, pureed this and that, sauces without lumps (or with lumps beaten into submission). They're extremely satisfying to use and make even the most amateur chef feel like a pro! It need not be the most expensive either, but do make sure you pick one with good reviews and at least 2 speed settings.
Here is a demonstration of ice-cream being made with a Vitamix blender!
It's really easy to get distracted and miss the time when you're cooking. Plus if you're having one of those nights where you just pop everything in the oven you can bet everything will need slightly different times. While a 10 minute dish won't mind being in for a few minutes more, a 25 minute dish will heartily object to being in for 45 and will let you know with crunchy bits!
A timer is a very simple thing that cuts down on these little annoyances, taking the attention off the clock and meaning you can just get on with your evening while you wait for things to cook themselves. Some timers even come with thermometers.
Consider how you cook and choose accordingly, but cheaper, more flimsy pans will fall apart quickly and the heat distribution may well be all wrong for your cooking style.
- Aluminium has fallen out of fashion now, as they leave a tinny taste in some foods and have been linked to health problems later in life
- Stainless steel is beautiful, ages well and distributes heat well
- Copper heats and cools very quickly, which is great for some dishes
- Cast iron may well be the best in this writer's opinion. For heat distribution and retention it's ideal, it doesn't stick easily and you can pop it in the oven to finish off a dish
Also consider your heat source – for example, if you use induction heating, you will need pans that are compatible for this.
A good chopping board protects your surfaces and also your knives. A glass one will dull your knives quite quickly, so avoid those. Wood is better than plastic if possible - plastic soon starts to smell a little odd and although both quickly get knife marks, studies have shown that germs come out of the wooden ones much more effectively.
Common advice is to get the largest one your kitchen can accommodate, but really you'll need several sizes so you can choose the best one for the job at hand.
Consider a roll up one, too, so you can chop, roll and place out of the way while you do the next step. If you need inspiration then sites like www.cs-catering-equipment.co.uk are brilliant for having a browse to decide which best fits your needs.
Which equipment do you use the most in the kitchen?