What are the most useful tools in cooking and baking life?
Fri, 8 July, 2016
As I mentioned before, my new kitchen project is underway. It is actually an absolutely overwhelming and bank-breaking building project driven by my need of a bigger kitchen. Selfish? Naaah, just think of who reaps the fruits of the kitchen activities… We’re in this together. There is not much to show for the advancement of the work yet, apart from large mountains of rubble in the garden, deep trenches dug for drainage, an odd Dalek and lots of dust everywhere.
But the foresightful person that I am, I’m already planning various things like for instance the number of sockets I’ll need in the new kitchen. And that has led me to thinking about various gadgets and utensils and their usefulness. And how many I need to have switched on at the same time…
What are the most useful tools, gadgets and utensils in cooking and baking life? I’m pleased to say that unlike many, I don’t have much never-used junk cluttering the cupboards (they call them ‘units’, kitchen designers, dontcha know?). And I’m thinking what in particular I couldn’t be without?
My Kenwood standing mixer springs to mind, of course. Whisking eggs by hand for ever for a genoise is not a desirable activity. Cutting beetroot into matchsticks for a salad on a chopping board - hell, no, thank you, I’ll have lettuce every day. Carrot cake made easy by slipping carrots into Kenwood grater attachment - otherwise carrot cake has extra protein from nail gratings… disgusting, I know.
Talking about dangerous utensils, I’ve recently acquired an authentic Japanese mandolin and absolutely love it, especially the thrill of ‘will it, won’t it, chop my fingertip off this time?’ Slicing stuff on the mandolin delivers all kinds of good things like properly thin fennel slices for a salad, game chips and red cabbage but I have to hide from my resident Health & Safety dictator the fact that I don’t use the guard.
Pots and pans - my latest objet d’amour is cast iron. My God what wondrous stuff. Admittedly, I’ve had to learn how to love it - wash without detergents, season after each use, fire in the oven periodically - but it pays off tenfold. Frying fish couldn’t be easier, steaks have dreamlike quality and one pot dishes like lentils bake, pot stickers or sautéed potatoes don’t only taste good - they actually LOOK good!
I couldn’t be without good knives. Dutch oven or clay cloche - not many breads can be baked without it. My little blender is vital. Coffee machine! The other coffee machine (cause I don’t fancy the same type always, do you?)! Kettle! And so we’ve gone round to electric appliances demonstrating that I’m really very low maintenance in those. Just shows: good skills don’t need fancy tools…