Last month I posted a link to two of my favourite kitchen items, the Thermapen and the Vinturi. Well those off-the-cuff posts proved so popular that I thought I'd share a few more of the kitchen bits 'n' pieces I'd be lost without.
LeCreuset? Pfft, no chance. THIS is the best dutch oven out there. I honestly use this thing 4 or 5 nights a week, it's that useful. You can do everything with it; slow cook, braise, deep fry, stew, boil, etc. It does everything a Le Creuset can do for a fraction of the price. It weighs a TON but that's a good thing and it cooks evenly. I absolutely love this thing. It's super cheap too, compared to a LeCreuset, £77 in the UK and $75 in the US. Definitely worth the investment, it will last forever. Oh and it's a breeze to clean.
I'm not a coffee connoisseur by any stretch. I have no time or space for a meth-lab level home brewing workshop like many of my friends seem to enjoy, but I like a good cup from time to time. I'm not sure how I heard about the AeroPress but boy am I glad I did. Despite looking like an over-complicated sex toy, the AeroPress is genius and extraordinarily simple to use. Filter goes in place, coffee goes on top, water on top of that, apply pressure, and hey presto great coffee.
Ok but why? Well "The AeroPress uses gentle air pressure with creates a smooth rich flavour with lower acidity and without bitterness. Other coffee makers drip hot water on to a bed of ground coffee which results in over extracting at the centre and under extracting the flavour from the edges, but the AeroPress brewing system results in uniform extraction for the ultimate in full coffee flavour." Got that? It's the coffee equivalent of salting a steak. And boy does it work. Best part though? It cleans itself as you're using it and all your left with is a neat little hockey puck of coffee grounds which you just pop out into the bin. Hilariously, this little device was invented by the dude who invented the Aerobie flying disc!
I have no idea how I existed without a kitchen scale for so long. Actually, it might explain why my cooking was so bad for so long. Hmm. Anyway, you can't go wrong with a digital kitchen scale and I just happen to like this Salter one in particular. It's a good price (£14), easily shifts between different units of measurements, and has stood up to the rigours of my kids "helping" me in the kitchen. When you're looking for a digital kitchen scale, make sure it has a "reset to zero" function so you can place a bowl or container on the scale to hold your ingredients and then reset the scale to zero so the scale doesn't include the weight of the container in the calculation. Super simple but so useful.
I have wanted, nay, lusted after a cast iron skillet for years. This will quickly be one of the most used items in your kitchen. Start a dish on the stovetop, transfer it to the oven, bake epic pizza, and of course make the best pancakes you've ever had. It comes pre-seasoned so you don't need to worry about that process, it's extremely well made and will last for generations. And remember, once you own a piece of cast iron cookware, don't clean it with soap and water ever. K?
I know I've mentioned it before but this is the single greatest kitchen tool I've ever owned. Every single cooking and recipe site I've been on recommends the Thermapen and with good reason; it works flawlessly. In every situation and scenario, the Thermapen performs brilliantly and the literature that accompanies is actually helpful, unlike most instructional materials. It gives target temperatures for every type of meat under the sun and all manners of "doneness". The Thermapen has no problem dealing with liquid either so if you're deep frying, making candy, or brewing coffee, the Thermapen will quickly become your best friend. I love, love, love this thing.