In the 3 years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve often posted recipes, but it recently occurred to me that I’ve never once mentioned any of the equipment I use whilst doing all of the cooking. Well, oversight corrected dear reader, prepare to know more than you ever wanted to know about the contents of my kitchen drawers (ooer).
Over the years, I’ve gradually accumulated bits of kitchen kit, until right now I’m at the stage that I can honestly say I have pretty much everything I need or want…. Except, of course, a KitchenAid mixer (preferably in black, in case anyone wants to send me one), or just maybe a Thermomix. But apart from that, I’m very happy with what I’ve got.
Out of all this gear, I thought it might be interesting to pick out my absolute favourite pieces of equipment and tell you why I love these particular things. So, let’s get cracking and talk about knives.
I reckon the best investment you can possibly make in terms of kitchen equipment is a decent set of knives. Yes, they’re expensive but the pleasure of using a beautifully balanced; razor sharp blade is almost indescribable. If nothing else, you’ll feel more cheffy using them, your food will look better and you’ll generally be considered more sexy by everyone you know*. True until you get the hang of using them, you’ll probably hack and slash your fingers to bloody ribbons, but this is ultimately how you learn the hard way not to chop your digits off. I bought a set of Global knives about 8 years ago, and I’ve pretty much used them everyday and it’s the best couple of hundred quid I’ve ever spent. I probably use the 20cm G2 cook’s knife most often, followed by the snub-nosed looking GS5 Vegetable Chopper and the Bread Knife.
But, after many years of exclusive Global love, I was gifted a knife which is currently my absolute favourite. It’s a Haiku H-15 20cm fluted Chef’s Knife. It’s bloody awesome, savagely sharp and ridiculously light. It’s a real pleasure to use. I absolutely love it and if I had the cash, I’d buy some more of the range.
It almost goes without saying, but it’s not worth stumping up the moolah for all those expensive knives if you let them get as blunt as assholes. So don’t forget to buy the kit to sharpen them. You’ll need a decent steel and something like a Minosharp to keep everything uber razorish.
My next favourite piece of equipment is at the other end of the price scale. A potato ricer. I am a complete mash fiend. I absolutely love it. Always have, always will. Its generally accepted wisdom that mashed potato with lumps through it is a frigging disgrace. Which is where the potato ricer comes in. If you want silky luscious Robuchon’esque mash, squeeze your potatoes through a ricer (oh, and add a artery clogging amount of butter too). Even as you keel over, clutching your chest the satisfaction you’ll get that your mash was lump free will make it all worthwhile. Expect to pay around £15 for a decent one.
Next up, A Le Creuset Grill Pan. It’s ridiculously heavy cast-iron, but as we all know, heaviness equals quality err ness. If you want to chargrill sexy black lines in your meat, you must have one of these. Don’t be tempted by cheap ass imitators, if it isn’t sack of cement heavy, it’s a heap of shit. It’s worth the price alone for the ability to char-grill bread, which is frigging awesome stuff. Priced at around £58 to you guv.
I actually won this next bit of kit in a competition, which is handy because I’d been admiring it for some time. A Thermapen is an instant read kitchen thermometer. It has no confusing settings or buttons for stupid people like me. Just stick the metal probe into whatever you want to know the temperature of and et voila! To be honest, you don’t ‘need’ a kitchen thermometer but it’s so handy to have one. You know, when you really have to ensure that you’re not going to give your dinner party guests food poisoning by serving up half cooked chicken. I’ve found it most useful for cooking things like crème anglaise. Can I just add, the first thing I ever probed with it, was my own ear. Not to be recommended, oh and apparently I’m ‘well done’. One of these will set you back £48.
I found my moulis is a charity shop for £2. I love that it looks a bit retro with its shiny red knob (errrr). It’s battered to hell but has character. Handy for soups or anything, where you want to puree but at the same time stop any seeds, pulp or skins getting into the finished product. It’s not an essential piece of kitchen equipment by any means, but is something I particularly like.
Finally, my newest and perhaps my most coveted piece of kit, I give you a Magimix. I wanted one of these for years and years. I wanted to slice and shred veg in seconds so very much that it almost ached my very soul. Last year, I finally got one. I am now complete. Yes, it’s a pain in the arse to wash up but if you’re making red onion soup for thirty six and need to slice up seventy two red onions, it comes into it’s own. It’s so useful; I don’t know how I ever managed without it. I own the white model, which isn’t quite as sexy as chrome, but obviously realising this, Magimix slyly charge a premium for the sexier metallic version. Expect to pay around £160 for a white one.
So that’s my favourite pieces of cooking equipment. I’d be interested to hear which kitchen kit you consider indispensable? What can’t you live without? Perhaps you love a particular vegetable peeler for sentimental reasons?
* Not actually true.