I spend a lot of time in my kitchen but, like most people, I don’t have an endless amount of storage and I don’t like keeping gadgets just for the sake of it. So, what am I willing to give houseroom to and what couldn’t I live without? These are a few of my favourite kitchen tools – if you click on the links in the text, you can find out how to add them to your collection if you don’t have them already.
The Good Grips range is top amongst my favourite makes of essential kitchen equipment. Well made, substantial and easy to clean, I couldn’t live without a Y-shaped vegetable peeler and this is my absolute favourite one.
Whether it’s for draining pasta, grains, vegetables, flour or tea leaves, a good set of metal sieves and strainers is an essential component of my daily-use kitchen arsenal. I really like the easy-to-hold handles on these.
It might seem like an extravagance but I love having my Magimix Le Glacier ice cream and sorbet maker primed and ready for action in the freezer drawer. It’s not so difficult to buy a wide variety of ice cream varieties in supermarkets or artisan food markets but sorbets are another matter. Lemon or mango appear to be the extent of the range and I am in my element whipping up an unusual sorbet. Check out my recipes for Wimbledon Gin and Tonic, Chocolate Espresso, Cucumber White Wine and Mint, and Roasted Plum sorbets and you’ll definitely be convinced!
I have several Le Creuset cast iron casserole dishes of varying sizes. They aren’t cheap but I’ve used mine for years so, if you look after them, you can literally consider them the most solid of investments. Casseroles, curries and oven baked dishes of all kinds cook beautifully in these. The heat is evenly distributed and the finish to the final result is just always so much better than stove top cooking. Try out my Slow Cooked Brisket with Red Wine Gravy and you’ll see what I mean.
Laguiole waiter’s friend corkscrew is quite the best tool for opening the copious bottles of wine that seem to feature at Pigeon Cottage!
I don’t have enough space to keep this out on the counter all the time but I’m happy to give this Kenwood Food Processor room in my kitchen cupboard. I couldn’t grate large amounts of vegetables for salads, breadcrumbs for stuffings and gratins or make quick pastry and crumble toppings without it! I also keep a mini blender handy for quickly whizzing small amounts of garlic and ginger pastes for curries and the like.
I love making curries and spicy food of all kinds. They taste much better when the spices have been freshly toasted and ground and I keep an Andrew James coffee grinder especially for that purpose i.e. I don’t use it for coffee. It’s much less effort than grinding spices with a mortar and pestle anyway. Well worth the investment!
I have a couple of box graters for coarse grating carrots, cheddar cheese and the like but these Microplane graters are just brilliant for finely grating hard cheeses like Parmesan, fresh garlic, fresh ginger and for zesting lemons and oranges. They’re also brilliant for making fine breadcrumbs from chunks of stale bread or finely grating chocolate for desserts. Try one, you’ll wonder how you managed without.