August 1st 2020
Kitchen kit confidential: which gadgets and tools are worth the money? We asked 7 top foodies
August 8th 2021 / 0 comment
What can't nutritional therapist Amelia Freer, weight-loss expert Dr Michael Mosley and chef Nina Parker cook without?
Social media is abuzz at the moment with talk of Our Place's *gorgeous* coloured pans (you can't scroll down your feed without an artful picture of one popping up).
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While we spend our morning gazing longingly at them, here are the 33 bits of kitchen equipment our trusted food experts say are essential in their kit.
Amelia Freer, nutritional therapist and author
"So often we can get carried away and enticed by the really snazzy kitchen things but I think the investment really needs to be with the essentials. It’s like building a capsule wardrobe.
"These are what I consider to be the essentials: sharp knives, a good peeler, a whisk, wooden spoons, tongs for sauteeing veg, chicken and fish and a good fish slice. A stick blender (Braun Mulitiquick £64.82) was one of the first pieces of kit I bought when I was teaching myself to cook over 20 years ago and I still have it. You can blend soups in the pan and finely chop garlic.
"Also essential is a box grater for cheese, lemon zest or garlic, a metal sieve, a heavy flat bottomed frying pan and a casserole dish – the heavier the better. I also recommend a couple of pans with lids and good heavy baking trays for roasting veg or meat.
"I’ve always loved a slow cooker especially when I was learning to cook and wasn’t that confident. It’s just about throwing everything in and coming home to a deliciously cooked meal (Morphy Richards Slow Cooker £29). I’ve had mine for years and it’s on in my kitchen at least three times a week. After I have roasted a chicken I put the whole carcass and lots of fresh veg in there to make a chicken soup or stock.
"Beeswax food wraps are very handy for covering things; they're a more environmentally friendly option than clingfilm. You can keep washing them and they last (Super Bee set of three beeswax wraps £15.98)
"It’s so handy to have different sizes of bowls. Vonshef stainless steel mixing bowls, £29.99 are really lightweight and easy to wash.
"A heavy base Le Creuset Pan is an investment piece. Mine was a gift from my mother, it’s lasted me for years. Le Creuset Signature Cast iron casserole £195
"Pretty plates are a must for me. I know there’s a trend for 'table scaping' and I do like making the table look pretty, it really adds to the joy of the dining experience. Charity shops are great places to find big serving dishes and platters.
Eve Kalinik, nutritional therapist and brand consultant
“I use my Vitamix, £349, every day, mostly for butter cauliflower puree which goes well with a hearty beef stew. I would say that is a very worthwhile investment for anyone and everyone. Because it’s so neat it sits nicely in smaller kitchens. I think that would be my top gizmo.
“I’m big on quality over quantity and despite having a lot of different recipes in my repertoire I only own two knives. Both are ceramic as these don’t oxidise fruit and vegetables, therefore keeping the nutrient content high. Kyocera is my go-to brand. With these two bad boys, I don’t need a whole knife collection, which actually works out a lot more expensive.
"I love my Magimix Food Processor, £340, too. It's so versatile and I make everything from cookies to chickpea-based veggie burgers in there. Definitely worth the investment.
“My kitchen also wouldn’t be my kitchen without my coffee machines - yes plural! I have a Nespresso one, that I use with only Cru Kafe coffee as they produce the most divine, organic and biodegradable capsules and I also have a Jura Coffee Machine, £975, to use with coffee beans. Lastly, I have a Smeg Milk Frother, £149.95, which I’ve also been using copiously for hot chocolate but it also makes the perfect flat white.
Nina Parker, chef and author
"As the author of a cookbook dedicated to creating sauces for food, my Nutribullet, £57.99, is an essential tool. It blends up sauces to a very smooth consistency and is great for smoothies in the morning too.
"Another time-saving tool I love is a Mandoline, £20. I find for healthy salads at lunchtime this is the quickest way of getting the chopping done fast – although you do have to be a bit careful. If I'm using a traditional knife rather than a tool, I always go for Kitchen Provisions knives, because a good one is essential.
"Something else I wouldn't be without is a Microplane grater, £8. I'm all about giving dishes a bit of lemon or lime zest at the end. It makes all the difference and lifts things.
"My final kitchen tool, though not an essential, is a Tacopress, £28.80. During lockdown I loved making my own tacos. The ones you make yourself are always better. Look out for the blue corn flour to make them authentic."
Dr Michael Mosley, founder of the Fast 800 diet
“I make my own kimchi so am well stocked with Kilner Jars, from £6.27, to keep it in. Otherwise known as Asian sauerkraut, Kimchi is a spicy, exotic, strongly flavoured fermented vegetable dish popular in Korean cuisine. It is also high in good bacteria so is good for the gut. I always keep a couple of empty jars around so that I can fill them when I make it.
“Recipes on the Fast 800 diet often call for specifically portioned ingredients to make sure you are eating the right amount of calories for weight loss. Therefore a good set of digital kitchen scales, £20, is essential.
"Stir-fries are a great way to whip up a healthy, filling meal packed with lots of low calorie but nutrient-dense vegetables so a wok, £26, is a must-have. Make sure to use a low-calorie spray oil in the wok rather than a big glug of oil which is high in calories.
"My Aarke water bottle, £18.99, goes with me everywhere I go. It’s really important to keep hydrated, as dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger, so staying well-hydrated means you are less likely to reach for the biscuits.
"A lot of my Fast 800 recipes are very high in fruits and vegetable as this makes them low calorie and great for anyone doing the Fast 800 intermittent fasting plan. To increase the vegetable and fruit content I often use a Nutribullet, £57.99, to make things such as soups, shakes and hummus and so a good blender is essential."
Daniel O'Shaughnessy, nutritional therapist
"I couldn't be without my Instant Pot, £100.05. It's a slow cooker and a pressure cooker in one. There's usually a deal on these on Amazon. They're a real lifesaver for batch cooking. Simply throw the ingredients in and let it do its magic. I tend to make broth in these as it comes out nice and rich but also makes good chilli and curry. It comes with a recipe book but many people have created their own recipe books just from using the instant pot alone.
"If I'm making herbal tea I always use my Breville Temperature Select Electric Kettle, £69, because it makes sure I don’t burn the leaves. Boiling water is too much for green tea, for which the optimal temperature is about 80 degrees celcius depending on the leaf.
"My Soda Stream, £99.99, is a great way to make sure I drink more water without having to go to the shop for sparkling water, plus you use far less plastic. Be mindful that the gas cylinders can cost about £10 per month with the gas exchange programme. Stay clear of the sugar syrups and stick to plain fizzy water to avoid excessive sugar consumption.
"I have a freestanding Berkey Water Filter, £480, and while it's expensive when you initially purchase it, the filters hardly need to be changed. It claims to remove 99.999 per cent of chlorine, viruses, harmful pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, parasites and hazardous chemical contaminants' from your water, without disturbing the minerals in water that we need."
Roz Purcell, chef and author
"I use a garlic twist, £14.99, every day when I'm cooking; they're easy to clean, kind of fun and the best way to mince garlic. I also have to give a shout out to my Nutribullet blender £57.99. Of this list, it's the most used kitchen gadget in our house. From pancakes, smoothies, sauces and dips, it's good for it all.
"As a chef, I'm trying out new recipes a lot so silicone reusable bags from Stasher, £9.99, are fantastic for freezing extras and a great way to carry snacks about.
"I used to love spiralizers, they were such a big thing but they take up so much space in your kitchen. This Oxo Good Grips Julienne Peeler, £6.99, is so handy to make veggie noodles or grate vegetables and is much more compact."
Gabriela Peacock, nutritional therapist and founder of GP Nutrition
“I always use a cold press juicer to make a ‘base’ juice of carrot, beetroot, green apple etc, then I mix it with fresh vegetables in my Vitamix, £349 every morning. This way I get the fibre from the veg blended into a smoothie, with a delicious taste. It’s a quick and easy way of getting vitamins, minerals and macronutrients into your diet at breakfast time or as a snack.
"I can also make nut butter in the Vitamix- they’re great to keep in the fridge and have as part of a snack with crackers.
“The Vitamix was for sure my most expensive kitchen purchase. There are cheaper models on the market that are well worth considering. For budget tools, I love to use a spiralizer. £24.44. Spiralized courgettes and carrots make a good alternative to pasta.”