Favourite Kitchen Kit
I often get asked what my favourite equipment is to get things done speedily and easily in the kitchen, and I never have time to write it down. But now the book is at the printers (so excited!) I finally sat down and made a list of the things I absolutely can't do without.
Some are investment pieces we got as wedding presents, or saved up for, and some are just needed right away! I promise you all of these things are a massive help to making you love cooking, do it easily and and fast and keep you coming back!
BLENDERS, MIXERS & JUICERS TOP JUICERS:
First up the quickest way to get extra fruit and veg in you and your family. By adding smoothies and soups and sauces to your daily diet. And these are a range of great machines across the board price wise to get you going:
KIT DRAWER - my essentials and top secret numbers
I'm asked a lot about all this and there are so many according to budget and lifestyle that I've done a lot of research for you and these are what I'd look at for blending, carrying, prepping and keeping smoothies:
Choosing a Blender
The bad workman blames his tools and all, but oh boy! when the tools are good the work is sweet. So get going on this first before we begin, as you’ll fall at the first hurdle without a decent blender to cut through that frozen anything and make you a creamy, fabulous drink every day (lumps are a REAL buzz kill). So, to deal with blitzing up a smoothie in the wink of an eye, I have test driven a few and there are a ton of choices, as I said, depending on your budget, your space and your lifestyle, and we covered them all, I think!
FAVE My absolute and total favourite is the beast that is the Vitamix. I KNOW it's pricey, I felt sick when we bought ours 12 years ago, but it is unbeatable. I've used ours at least twice a day, it gets through anything, makes soups, smoothies, humous and nut butter as well as anything else, and it washes itself up! If I could take it on holiday I would. For me a no-brainer investment you'll leave to your kids! This is the exact one I have, and I think it's worth every penny. Price per wear etc! VitamixBlender, Black
PORTABLE Then the go anywhere, blend anything, NutriBullet that is perfect for shoving in the packing, taking to work, on holiday, away for the weekend. This is your baby if you need a portable and effective machine that takes up no space.
CLASSIC & ELEGANT I'm a huge fan of the Magimix brand, and they have a solid, sleep and beautiful one here that's way less expensive and will do the job for sure if you can't face that price tag.
Magimix Le Blender 11610 - Black Finish
VALUE Then there's a really straight up one from these guys that is way, way cheaper, does the job and should keep you going happily. (disclaimer, I only used it once so I don;t know how long they last) Breville Blend and GO
Breville VBL096 Blend Active Family Blender
Accessories - Smoothie Bottles with lids, Straws and moreSo you've got a blender, you're good to go, and this is all just extra, but I'm sharing what I use, what I like the look of and what makes life easier. You’re much more likely to keep this as a part of your routine if you like what your doing it with, it’s easy and simple and drinking them looks pretty, I have found, so spend a few quid on some good smoothie wares.
- The Classic Kilner Jar with a stainless steel straw and lid - a 1 Litre glass one for the grown ups!
- Insulated bottle with a lid for smoothies to GO - keep them cold and delicious on the way to work, school etc:
- Kid proof smoothie bottles - I'm always asked for ideas on these These multi coloured ones with straws and lids mean no spill and no buzzing creatures can get in. They look adorable too, and keep the smoothies happy in the fridge afterwards: 5 x Large Milkshake Smoothie bottles with screw lids and hard plastic straws - Milkshake bottles , Smoothies , Slushies, Ice cold drinks, cocktails
- Glass Smoothie Bottles - For adults, bigger children, or just posing on Instagram with beautiful smoothies! Gorgeous Gingham Lidded ones: Vintage Set of 4 Glass Milk Milkshake Smoothie Bottles with Gingham Lids & Straws
- Bamboo Straws, better for you and the planet than a disposable plastic number, and they look gorgeous.
- Stainless Steel Straws, for the same reason as above, but less expensive and they come with a cleaner! Mudder 8 Pack Stainless Steel Drinking Straws with Cleaning Brushes and Portable Storage Box
- To make ice pops out of the leftovers for the kids: 7 Pcs Fun Multicolored Silicone Ice Popsicle Maker Molds with Caps Squeeze Pockets Ice Pop Holder Snack Containers Storage Freezer Storage Flexible Durable for Freezing Easy Cleanup - Quincunx
Again, an investment piece but once you get a good one you'll use it more and you'll never need to replace it.
And if you just need oranges dealt with:
Pots and Pans
My mum's stoneware pots bubbling away when I was young made me always want them, and there is a massive difference in a slow-bubbled pot from this amazing material, than a thin, metal saucepan. Heat distribution, non-sticking and no metallic leeching into your food are all my reasons for going with these beauties.
Risotto pans are wider so you can get all that lovely liquid absorbed into the rice more easily. This pan will make the stirring and tipping seem way less of a chore.
A griddle pan is a must and you really need a cast iron one when raising the heat this high so you don't get any of the toxicity and you benefit from added iron in your food!
And one that you can stick in the oven too:
Copper is the best heat conductor around, and by far the prettiest pan on show. If you can have one little pan or two make it these:
And then you absolutely need one of these to stop all that fat spraying everywhere and burning everyone nearby:Soggy veg be gone. With this nifty number you can stick it on top of any pasta, rice or bubbling pot and gently steam your vegetables keeping those vitamins and goodies in where they belong. Best and cutest heart shaped waffle iron that you can use on the stove top. No electrics or wires to faff with.
If you're embarking on the time consuming process of weaning baby with your delicious homemade goodies, then look no further than this brilliant machine that steams, chops, defrosts and reheats all in one!
Headache over I promise:
The most key thing you can have if you are roasting anything. This baster will make sure any chicken is succulent and all potatoes are crisp.
Again, the stoneware wins for me if I'm baking crumble or pies:
If you're making a beautiful cake then you must have a stand for it to be admired for days in its full glory. Sponge shouldn't be put in the fridge either so this is the best solution that's not tupperware!
Never get a muffin sticking disaster again by using these silicone beauties, they all pop straight out.
Measuring in Cups makes for a way easier scoop and dump than weighing everything out and worrying. So I always have tons of these on hand:
I am guilty of having a huge cupboard of largely useless tupperware, always in fear of having to take food on the go, freeze leftovers or cart dishes around. But I discovered this super smart label recently and their genius dating dial on the lid means you can easily see how long everything has been around for. No more guessing or leaky biro rubbing off.
Plus they have teeny tiny sizes so you can freeze weaning food.
If I don't have decent knives, I can't really face doing any cooking at all, so I often take mine with me just in case. I have lots and lots now, amassed over the years, and these are some of my favourites at all price points.
They are all sharp, easy to hold and good at their job!
I like Sabatiers sets and all the Khun ones, as well as ceramic knives.
This changed the game in getting my kids involved in prep and eating a TON more vegetables. I thought it was a gimmick I'd never use, but it's a regular now for sure:
And whilst you're getting them in the mood for vegetables, this is a great stocking filler or fun pressie to get the kids excited about vegetables as they see them all growing in front of their eyes.
Grating, peeling and zesting
If you have a Magimix try and make that do the work, but when you need a quick grab and grate, this is the most effective and the easiest by FAR:
And a box grater is always useful:If you spend a lot of time peeling in the sink, you'll need an easy gliding tool that makes you sing a long whilst you work! Get all the flavour out of your lemons and oranges and limes without injuries! If you spend a lot of time chopping apples for snacks and lunch boxes etc, this is your new BEST FRIEND. One push and a beautifully sliced apple falls away. I think I may have been asked about this on Snapchat more than anything else. This is a brilliant piece of kit to turn garlic cloves, ginger pieces and more into mince in a couple of twists.
And the books I have my eye on or have been loving right now:
Really nice kids Cookbooks with loads of veg and tasty ideas - including a fabulous looking BRAND NEW one that came out in March! : A hand-picked flick through old favourites and new kids on the block, I have all of these and love them:
And if you're lacking smoothie inspiration this is a beauty: