Sunday, September 03, 2006

Most favourite kitchen gadget(s)

I stumbled across a site today called ‘Is my Blog Burning?’ - which appears to be a site for food blogging events. I blog, I am a food blogger so I was immediately interested. They are posing a question about favourite kitchen gadgets and this has really got me thinking. I love kitchen gadgets; I have a fine, extensive and mostly shiny collection of kitchen objects but as for a favourite, hmmm…

To make it easier I will make a short list.

I swear by my Bamix, it so good for whizzing up a soup, grating cheese, crushing ice, making mayonnaise (even though I don’t like eating mayonnaise, I enjoy making it. Is that weird?) and so much more. Bamix’s are a joy to wash up which is so much more that I can say about a food processor or blender. D’s Bamix is not very well at the moment due to a small accident of dropping it and it losing a foot. It seems that all three feet are most integral to a Bamix working properly. I have been hankering after a new Bamix as they are now a pleasing dull silver colour – so I intend to get one at the next food show I attend and sell my three footed one to D. A cunning plan indeed! I also love my mandoline and my authentic v-slicer. The mandoline is better looking, shiny and industrial looking but the v-slicer is just so easy to clean which makes it a more viable option.

I have a beautiful black, granite and curiously curvy John Julian mortar and pestle but I’m not Jamie Oliver I don’t need to bash stuff every day so even though it’s very tactile and lovely, I just don’t use it enough to be my favourite

I have a favourite wooden spoon which has a china Alice in Wonderland style cake on the end for absolutely no reason whatever, but a wooden spoon could never be my favourite.

My favourite spatula type/slotted spoon/turner is an old favourite from Lakeland Limited only slightly marred by it not being heatproof so it is gradually melting every time I use it. And Lakeland have discontinued it otherwise I’d upgrade it – how tragic! I like a nice butter knife and this one has a bee on it (well it is a Laguiole) so is my favourite butter knife. My latest pastry brush is very pleasing – brushed steel and black little tendrils. I was compelled to get it after a bad experience with a Beef Wellington and a balding pastry brush that shed so many nasty plastic bristles I had to warn everyone to check each mouthful.

I was rather taken by this spoon balance for weighing small quantities many years ago in Paris but it wasn’t until I discovered it again in David Mellor I was able to add it to my collection. My favourite peeler is nice and wide and produces satisfactory curls of chocolate and Parmesan and is also a great potato and other vegetable peeler. But still not my favourite gadget! I have several excellent cheese knives but this one is very good for Brie and Camembert and is pleasingly mouse shaped.

And then there’s the top five!

Microplane graters do such a brilliant job of
grating and zesting. I love the gossamer of lemon zest it produces which then just melts into my risotto or sauce or salad.

An electric pepper grinder seems such an indulgence but I do so like a quick one handed grind of the aromatic black spice to whatever pan I’m stirring. And I do use a lot of black pepper.

When magic whisks started being recommended by many cooks, it was such a revelation and it has the word 'magic' in the title. No one likes a lumpy sauce and the magic whisk can fix a multitude of sins and whip up a very fine vinaigrette or dressing. I even keep a spare one in my drawer at work - just in case!

A potato ricer - as I’ve said before it does a fantastic job of turning cooked potatoes into pleasing worms to enable creamy mashing and it saves me from having to peel potatoes – excellent! And with my love of mash it’s a close thing.

And then there is my pointiest, spotty handled, heaviest and most favourite knife – my drop forged Global chef’s knife. It feels so comfortable in my hand, and it probably gets used nearly every time I enter the kitchen to prepare any food. Saying that a knife is my favourite kitchen gadget seems so obvious but probably true, I’ve tried cooking in a kitchen with no decent knives and you realise how important they are to nearly every dish you produce. And even though some of the kitchens I have the pleasure to cook in (D and M etcetera) have excellent knives - it's just not this particular knife and I do miss the feel of it in my hand.

But to be less dull I’ll select my knife and magic whisk as my joint favourites.

Though really all of these fabulous gadgets are my favourites and I love them all dearly. And if I think about it more, I'm sure I'll find even more favourites. So I better stop now!

What's your favourite kitchen gadget?

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