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My top five kitchen gadgets of 2014

December 31, 2014

On the whole, I didn’t really think I was one for kitchen gadgets. That was until, one busy day in the kitchen, I twittered something about having a KitchenAid, food mixer, pressure cooker (on loan from my best mate), oven and bread maker all on at the same time. So much for no gadgets, hey?! That got me to thinking about what I wouldn’t do without…What would be my Desert Island Gadgets? (or should that be Dessert Island Gadgets?!) I’m not one for buying things on a whim or because it’s the latest trend… I think long and hard about my kitchen purchases and if they don’t turn out to be all that they’ve cracked up to be, then I’m not precious about getting rid – space is precious in my busy little kitchen.

So, after much pondering, here they are – my top five kitchen buddies from 2014 (and probably for many years to come…), in no particular order. Oh, and nobody has put me up to advertising these products, just in case the thought crossed your mind.

1. Meat Cleaver. This Sabatier blade is the newest addition to my kitchen armoury (along with a drum sieve, whetstone, spiralize and digital thermometer and an infusing ball), thanks to my very generous and thoughtful husband at Christmas. I discovered my need for one after attending a brilliant Game cookery course (at Inspired Gourmet Cookery School in Milton Keynes) a couple of months ago, when the chef explained the benefits of being able to properly break down carcasses you are going to use for stocks – it increases the surface area and introduces more flavour into your stocks and sauces. I may have mentioned once or twice that I now really needed a meat cleaver, and lo and behold, there was one perched under the Christmas tree for me on 25 December. And just to get even more brownie points, my husband bought it from a local kitchen shop, knowing how much I like to support local businesses. He’s clearly trying to steal all the gold stars from the Christmas tree!

Pampered Chef Citrus Press
2. Citrus Press. A close friend of mine did a stint as a Pampered Chef sales representative, and as you do in these situations, I went along to one or two of her parties to give my support. Whilst I found much of it to be too ‘gadgety’ for my tastes (oh, the irony!), I did have a little play with the citrus press after I saw her demonstrate it. Upon discovering how easy and mess-free it was to extract juice from half a lemon (quite the opposite to the juicing tool I had at home which liberally coated your hands in juice whilst simultaneously squirting a generous amount in your face) I purchased one and congratulate myself for that purchase every time a recipe calls for lime or lemon juice. Even my husband has commented on its stellar performance and he’s not one to speak highly lightly.

3. Kirsty KitchenAid. I’ve owned ‘Kirsty’. as she’s fondly known in my household, for a few years now, after burning my way through the motors in eleven sets of Dualit beaters (yes, I did say eleven. Thank goodness for John Lewis and their no fuss exchange policy) and she (‘it’ just sounds too cold) is definitely a gadget I would be lost without. Forget the fact she can whisk egg whites quicker than I can say ‘Pavlova’, I love that she allows me to be ‘hands-free’ whilst baking – so I can be weighing out the ingredients or lining the tin or searching for the elusive baking powder whilst she is creaming the butter and sugar. The dough hook is also a well-used attachment – two minutes to mix together a pizza dough by hand and then 10 minutes in Kirsty, whilst I busy myself with the washing up and other prep and everyone is happy. I’d admit that they don’t come cheap, but they look beautiful in a stylish-kitchen-gadget way and save time and effort in vast quantities.

Saute Pan.
4. Saute Pan with Lid. My brother bought me a ‘Jamie Oliver’ version of these a few years ago for my birthday present (can you see a recurring theme with all the gifts people give me?) and I don’t know how I managed without it. I use it every single day I’m in the kitchen cooking. Because it’s got a thick base and is non-stick, I use it for everything – from scrambled eggs to risotto to caramel to steak. Comes clean without a fuss and is just a dream to cook with. The only thing I don’t like about it is that I now loathe all my other inferior pans – I wish my cupboard was just full of Jamies (not literally…what a horrifying thought!)

5. Filleting Knife. It’s probably quite fitting that two knives made it into my top five; after all, where are you in a kitchen without a good knife? I bought my filleting knife what seems like a life time ago at a Good Food Show – I think the make is Berghaus. It’s lovely and slender and very flexible and whilst it’s obviously very good at filleting and skinning fish, it’s a dream for breaking down the elements of a whole chicken too; something I’ve spent quite a lot of time doing recently after working out how much better value for money it is to do that rather than buying parts of the chicken, such as the breasts, separately. And then of course that leaves me with lots of chicken carcasses to bash up with my shiny new meat cleaver!

I’ve never really given any of these gadgets this much thought and attention before now. It’s left me with the overwhelming feeling of wanting to go and play with them all now – I can feel lots of New Year treats coming up…healthy ones, of course.

Which just leaves me to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2015 proves to be a year full of great cooking and memorable meals (for the right reasons!)

All the best
Dawn

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From → Five, My thoughts

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