Kitchen Kit … our guide to the gadgets you really need
One of my many guilty pleasures is kitchen gadgets. A kitchenware shop to me is like a lolly shop to a child. So over the years I’ve collected all manner of useful (and also some really useless) gadgets to use in the kitchen. But if I’m being honest most of them end up sitting idly in a drawer and never see the light of day after the initial excitement of using them a couple of times. So, what are the essentials? What pieces of kitchen kit do you actually really need? Here’s the top 12 kitchen must-have items.
1. A hand or stick-blender
There’s lots to love about stick blenders. They’re perfect for everything from making soups and smoothies to pureeing baby food. They don’t take up much room in the cupboard and they’re inexpensive to buy. Most come with a range of attachments so that you can whip, blend, chop and more.
2. Good quality knives
An investment in a set of good quality knives will make your kitchen prep so much easier and safer. Blunt, poor quality knives not only don’t do the job, but they can cause accidents in the kitchen. If you’re on a limited budget start with these three knives that will cover most situations – a bread knife (serrated), a paring knife (short) for preparing fruit and veg, and a chef’s knife (medium-sized blade).
3. A wooden spoon
Wooden spoons are non-scratch so they are perfect in the kitchen. Use them for mixing and stirring without scratching your pots, pans and bowls.
4. Silicone spatula
These are fantastic for scraping out a mixing bowl, ensuring that nothing goes to waste. They are also perfect for folding flour into a batter and icing a cake. Don’t be tempted by rubber or plastic spatulas as these will melt if exposed to high temperatures.
If you’ve got a stick-blender then you can probably live without a whisk but they are a very handy tool for beating eggs, whipping cream and making sponge cakes. Choose a stainless steel balloon whisk and it should last you a lifetime.
6. An egg or fish slice
No, not a slice of egg, but a slotted spatula that’s indispensable in the kitchen. Use it for flipping eggs and burgers, lifting fillets of fish from a pan without breaking them and transferring food from pan to plate. The slots in the spatula allow excess fat to drain from the food.
Amazingly useful and versatile, tongs are a kitchen staple. Go for metal over plastic as they are much more durable and able to withstand heat.
8. A box grater
With different sides for different purposes you’ll find a box grater really useful. Whether you’re grating cheese or zesting citrus, the box grater will be your friend. Choose a sturdy grater with a good handle.
Useful for draining foods like pasta and rice and washing fruit and veg, a colander is invaluable in the kitchen. There’s a variety of options to choose from including plastic, metal and ceramic.
If you love baking then scales should be part of your kitchen kit. They will give you a level of accuracy when measuring ingredients that you just can’t get with just measuring spoons or cups.
11. All-purpose non-stick frying pan
This is something that definitely won’t sit in the back of the cupboard collecting dust. A good-quality non-stick frying pan is a great investment. Use it for frying eggs, stir-frying, searing and more. If you can find one that is both dishwasher and oven safe you’ll be in frying pan heaven.
12. Slow cooker
A slow cooker can literally transform your life if you are time-poor. Pop all the ingredients in, press a couple of buttons and several hours later your dinner is done. Slow cookers are also great for batch cooking, so that you can do a big cook on the weekend and have meals ready for the week ahead.