Ten kitchen tools to make cooking easier
Wednesday 14 November 2012
Fed up of novelty kitchen gadgets? Hrishikesh Desai, the former National Chef of the Year and Roux Scholar of the Year, picks the ten kitchen accessories that every home should have. Desai is Director of the new Lucknam Park Cookery School that opens on 19 November 2012 offering courses on Christmas baking, Michelin starred cooking and Indian street food.
- Robert Welch knife sharpener: I sharpen my home knives every Sunday with the Robert Welch roller. It has ceramic wheels set at the optimum sharpening angle. Hand-held knife steels are ok but it’s harder to maintain the precision angle. Weekly sharpening makes cooking so much easier and faster.
- Raymond Blanc saucepans for Analon: You can’t cook well without good quality pots and pans that retain heat well. I’ve tested plenty and I like those at Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Raymond Blanc pans. Choose non-stick and sauté pans for sweating or tossing vegetables. Cheaper pans warp and will not stay non-stick.
- Kenwood food processor: Find one with as many attachments as possible. I bought mine for £90 to practice for the National Chef of the Year competition 2010. It did the job well! Now it does everything from baby purees and curry spice mixtures to chicken mousse (for which you need a strong machine) and the initial stage of kneading pasta (to be hand-finished).
- KitchenAid planetary mixer: This is like Alice in Wonderland; when you have a KitchenAid, you can do whatever you want. It can do creams, mousses, breads, cakes, and meringues for macaroons or Eton Mess. You can even do bread with one – I don’t believe in bread makers because there is so much satisfaction in doing it alone.
- Electric weighing scales that measure up to 6kg. These are not that costly - £25 will get you a good weighing scales. I prefer electric scales that help with your calculations. They are an essential for making pastry.
- John Lewis hardwood chopping board, without which you can do nothing. They are not cheap, around £25, but it does what you want. It’s easy to clean, will not stain and most importantly, will not retain old flavours. I do not recommend plastic chopping boards because they absorb flavours and stain.
- Wooden rolling pin: These are versatile. They are good for making brandy snaps at an angle and decorating deserts.
- Measuring jugs and measuring scales: Use the right amount in your recipe. Whether it’s a teaspoon or tablespoon, don’t just throw it in.
- CuisinArt electric kettle: Measure the right amount of water in your kettle, and then boil it. I always cook rice by absorption method to make it sweeter with a better flavour. You need 200ml water to cook 100g rice. At home, I use an old-fashioned looking CuisinArt kettle. Avoid very cheap kettles that have a high chance of blowing up.
- IKEA glass mixing bowls: Use glass, not steel mixing bowls because metal reacts with different oils and can be scratched by a whisk. IKEA has stunning glass bowls that are very cheap. The smallest can cost 42p and the large one is £1.08. Make sure they stack as you will need six to eight bowls of each size (small, medium and large). The small is for pre-preparation, medium bowls for storing ingredients and large bowls are for tossing salads or marinating.
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