The common thing with all top cooks?
None of them were born that way! It truly takes everyone a lot of practice, trial and error, and a lot of learning to master cooking, but also to find your own style. One thing that makes it a hell of a lot easier and enjoyable though is to have a good kitchen – spacious and well equipped. Here are my favourite kitchen items, which have become truly essential in my day to day cooking… most of which would make really nice present ideas too!
I always try and be as creative and versatile as possible when it comes to cooking and my tagine dish has become a whole new world of inspiration! While some of the moroccan recipes can be done pretty much in any slow cooking dish with a tight lid, I find that a bit of authenticity can open new doors! Mine is a Maxwell & Williams, from their new microstoven range. It’s quite good value for money with traditional material and features but easier to clean (non stick!). You can also explore the more authentic places in Newton for a traditional design if you’ve got time.Check out my Lamb tagine recipe as a starting point if you decide to get one!
2. Fondue Set
Everyone loves a good fondue. Fact.
It may be a bit tacky and 80′s, but cheesy when it comes to fondue is a good thing, non?! More seriously, it’s a great dinner to have with friends, especially if you don’t have much time to prepare, and it never fails to get the crew excited…Cheese, meat or chocolate…Mmm!
Mine is a scanpan model and I bought it online from Peter’s of Kensington.
3. Individual Ceramic Oven Dishes
I have a set of 4 little Maxwell oven dishes and I find myself using it all the time. It’s really handy to keep sides warm in the oven and looks great as a bit of sizzle on the table. I use it to serve tapas, potato gratin, fajitas etc.
4. Book Stand
If like me you own a huge collection of cooking books, but sometime fail to use it because you don’t want to get your books dirty in the kitchen…that’s one for you.
Mine is a MasterChef (like me) so it looks pretty smooth too!
5. Rice Cooker
I was a hardcore skeptic but now can’t live without one! Perfect rice every time – hands down, but you can also use it as a steamer to cook vegs but even risottos and other saucy dishes. It’s also a must for certain Asian recipes like sticky rice and sushi rice.
The selling line is “Cook a kilogram of chips with only one spoonful of oil!”. It’s a quick, tasty and healthy way to do all your frying – fish, tempura, chips – you name it!
7. Top Quality Knives
Good knives are something you should really invest in. You will use it everyday for slicing, chopping, dicing and it will last for decades. Just remember to look after them. Get a good sharpener and learn how to use it. I have the Global Knives and definitely recommend it (unless if you’re really clumsy)
8. Mortar & Pestle
Freshly ground pepper & sea salt can be the final touch that improves every dish. Its also very handy for some garlic, lemon and herb bases sauces (salsa verde, pesto etc) or to crush nuts for a topping!
To be honest – it also just looks great (and pro) in the kitchen!
9. Top Quality Pots & Pans
I would have a similar approach with knives and cookware – quality matters and the amount of usage you get out of it overtime totally outweighs the cost. If you can’t afford a full set, buy a couple of good quality essentials (frying pan, sauce pan) and add to your collection along the way.
10. Handheld Blender
I love my Braun multiquick – I use it all the time for smoothies, soups, sauces, mousses and cakes. Because it’s handheld, you can whisk and blend straight in your pan or bowl. It’s also compact and easy to store!