Success in any kitchen, particularly if you’re time-poor is to invest in a few handy appliances and gadgets. With so many different types and brands on the market it can be a little overwhelming trying to separate ‘goal’ from ‘gimmick’.
As it turns out my eldest daughter, I’ll call her Magic is newly wed and a self–confessed novice when it comes to cooking! Magic and hubby are currently in the process of refurbishing the kitchen of their very first apartment. So as you can imagine, I didn’t need to be asked twice when it came to recommending tried and tested appliances and gadgets that really do live up to their hype.
To minimize time spent food prepping and to alleviate most of the heavy lifting in the kitchen you can’t go past a good quality food processor. In fact, I highly recommend both a large and a small – let me explain why.
Food processors these days perform a whole raft of tasks, from grating, chopping, juicing, liquidizing and blending, just to name a few. When considering what to buy think about what it is you would like the processor to do. It is important to keep in mind the size of your family. As a rough guide, the 8 cup bowl is perfect for a four person family.
The large models are perfect for bigger families or for those occasions you need to process in large quantities, such as holiday cooking.
The smaller models come in handy especially for dips, blitzing crumbs or toppings, curry pastes and the list goes on. I still have my baby Sunbeam Oskar II which was purchased over 15 years ago. It gets a regular work out and hasn’t missed a beat yet.
Blenders come in a variety of types and sizes from the basic, to the single serve ‘bullet’ types to the high performance blending machines. It is also important to consider what you’ll be using it for and what other appliances you have. Here’s a couple of tips:
Single serve ‘bullet’ types: With the growing popularity of meal replacement and protein shakes these high-power machines are the perfect choice. They are compact, easy to use yet still powerful enough to whiz through ice cubes or mix a dense fibre-laden smoothie.
High-powered, bench top blenders: These bigger types are perfect for processing large quantities and varying temperatures of liquids. Ideal for a blitzing a full bowl of ice or soup straight off the stove.
A note on blending warm liquids. It is important to always take care, go slowly and DO NOT overfill. Sometimes blending in batches is called for and try placing a tea towel over the lid to capture any spillage.
Electric Hand mixers
Growing up as part of a large, Welsh family, the process of baking was a daily ritual and was a constant source of conversation and fascination. Cherished memories of my mother baking non-stop to produce a vast array of sweet and savory treats from scones, yeast buns, Christmas cakes and of course, famous welsh cakes.
In those days, the task of baking really was a labour of love and quite arduous, particularly with a family of eight. I still recall the day my mother and father bought home a prized Kenwood Chef. We watched in awe as the machine was unboxed and carefully assembled to take up pride of place at the end of our kitchen bench. There it sat for many years with it’s signature “K” blade ready for when family or unexpected neighbours popped by.
Nowadays, unless you have a large family or make your own bread, an electric hand mixer will generally suffice with most baking needs.
Hand / Stick Blenders
If you don’t have one of these little beauties, be sure to check them out next time your browsing kitchenware. The hand-held blender is such a versatile gadget to quickly blend, at high speed wet ingredients into a smoother consistency, such as sauces, soups, dressings, creams etc.
The great thing about these little gems is they’re small, compact and very convenience when you need to whip something up in a hurry. With so many models on the market at such a reasonable price they are a must for any kitchen.
No I’m talking about a small aircraft, but rather a hand-held grater, commonly called a microplane. The key difference from a standard grater is these have super sharp blades to grate whisper thin, anything from cheeses, spices, garlic and ginger.
A microplane is a must and a useful addition to any kitchen gadgetry. I purchased my first microplane about 10 years ago and there’s not a week go by that it’s not in use.
Top tip … these are a perfect gift idea for any foodie and fear not as one is not enough!
With the popularity of paleo and plant based meals this clever gadget has single handedly reinvented the traditional spaghetti dish leaving many traditional Italian food connoisseurs quivering by the pasta machine.
There are two main types on the market which include bench top and hand-held spiralizers. Bench tops are great for bigger families or anyone who needs to churn through large volumes and different types of vegetables. I find the hand-held type is perfect for day-to-day cooking and makes wonderful spirals from zucchini’s, parsnips and carrots.
So that’s my short list, how does it compare to yours?
In closing be sure that whichever appliance or gadget you choose look out for the energy efficiency, its functions and of course don’t be afraid to shop around to compare prices.