For many new to cooking, there is always the assumption that you need to invest in a huge amount of small kitchen appliances and gadgets before you can even begin to cook or try to produce a simple good quality meal! What such people don’t seem to realise though is how well our ancestors coped when cooking and preparing some of their finest dishes, way before such gadgets were even invented!
As an experienced cook, with many years of preparing and cooking tasty meals, I try to keep myself up to date with the latest technology and inventions that can aide the experience of cooking in the kitchen. I do like to purchase the odd new gadget from time to time, but in all honesty, there are currently five small kitchen appliances that I confess to never wanting to part with, despite their age and overall shabby appearance!
- Rice Cooker
As a common staple food, I do find myself cooking rice on a regular basis yet, I am still to master making that perfect bowl all by myself. Though I do indeed attempt it on the odd occasion, I will admit to putting my rice maker through its paces on a regular basis! With two simple buttons to press, as to colour type and weight, I can throw rice grains into my rice maker and get on with preparing my main course in the forty-five minutes that the rice takes to cook. Nothing beats the taste of fluffy rice!
- Pizza maker
My pizza maker, which really does look like a normal carboard pizza box from afar, was what I call a genius buy! I like to take pizza to work with me a couple of times during the week, as a mid-morning snack, but I’m not overall keen on the taste of the pre-cooked ones that you find in the freezer sections. It always surprises people that pizza can be quite healthy when you want it to be. With my pizza maker, I can prep a batch of handmade dough in the evening and then, first thing in the morning, simply pile on the ingredients I want on my pizza that day and leave it to cook for 20 minutes before wrapping it straight into foil to take to work. Come mid-morning the pizza has remained warm and is delicious as a pick me up!
Though I have a hob and plentiful space in which to cook all my vegetables on, I still prefer the taste of freshly steamed vegetables. Steamers are relatively simple and easy to use, but are most effective in not draining your vegetables of their essential nutrients, which boiling tends to do. I have a three-tiered steamer because I try to pile as many vegetables on my plates as possible, but also because I can choose a selection of three different types of vegetable with a bigger steamer, whilst also steaming potatoes in there at the same time. Steamers are perfect for the smaller kitchen where space is limited and you don’t have room for lots of pots and pans, or if you don’t own a hob to begin with!
- Food Processor
My current food processor may have seen better days, but it was one of my more expensive buys a few years ago which I was attracted to due to its multi-functional properties. In fact, it has so many different functions that I admit even I haven’t got around to using them all – but it does what I need it to do and can get the job done not just quicker, but more efficiently. Having the food processor left out on the kitchen worktop works best for me, as I then make every effort to use it during most food prep. I have tried storing it in the cupboard when not in use, but the hassle involved in setting it all back up again meant there were times when I just couldn’t be bothered. I use my food processer predominately for whisking, so I know I’ve removed all lumps and bumps, as well as making the beginnings of cake and biscuit doughs.
- Slow Cooker
Another kitchen device, that people tend to seem astounded to learn that I proudly own, is a slow cooker. My slow cooker, or crock pot, dependant on which term you prefer, is like a friend that warmly greets you after you return home from a long day at work! Once a week, I get up that little bit earlier and prep a nice portion of meat, and place in into the slow cooker with an abundance of vegetables and a rich stock to finish off. Then I switch it on to the lowest heat setting and go to work. When I return, some nine to ten hours later, I can smell the aroma of a beautiful hot pot as I make my way to the front door, salivating at what waits for me on the other side. Even us cooks need a quick and easy no-nonsense meal occasionally! In a range of sizes, crock pots are perfect for single people, couples or even large families, as they offer a simple meal solution whilst still providing a wealth of succulent tasting meats and vegetables combined.
I’m always asked for advice on what kitchen products to purchase and my response is – whatever works best for you and your personal circumstances. With so many products available on the market, it would be impractical to buy every single one – but it is worth seeing what the product can do for you before you make that final purchase. As you can see from my top five list, it is sometimes the older tried and tested products that are the best to get you started on your cooking journey.